viernes, 22 de agosto de 2008

Time sinks

People who, as I do, are living in the third world, are constantly asked to do a bunch of time-wasting chores in order to fulfill obnoxious people’s expectative. There are some time sinks such as the queues in every money-involved procedure which cannot be avoided since money is always an issue. The problem is those time-consuming ‘security’ measures rich people tend to establish believing they will have a nicer life.

In these so called developing countries we face every day the fear of being exposed to crimes. Do we? Who are the most frightened people? Rich people think they have more to lose than everyone else. So they protect themselves the most. And in their vision, the way to assure safety is living apart from everyone else. And in order to achieve protection they install barriers, CCTV systems, guards, etc. But they ignore that by doing this they are exposing themselves for three main reasons. They show criminals where their goods are, they foment social resentment, and they have to drive long distances (there’s no driving-free transport that fits in this way of life)

When you enter a concealed neighborhood, called in Mexican Spanish “coto”, a private security guard asks you to stop the car, asks for the name of the person you’re visiting, asks for the exact address, and on top of it to show an ID. How many exact addresses do you know? Well, you’ve better memorize the addresses of your friends because if you don’t they won’t let you in. And what is the ID for? To prove you are over age? It can’t be to know who may or may not be a burglar.

If burglars have in their minds to rob a house, they won’t be stopped by a bunch of walls and fences. If the reward is good, they would invest time, money, and intelligence to get it. And this reward is most likely to be in rich houses rather than in a none-secured, less wealthy house.

By establishing security measures they are pointing themselves as a target. Because if you are able to pay for security in your home that means that you have more valuable assets in other places, such as the bank, the stock market. This will invite criminals to attack you when you are not home. Kidnappers may not “work” in this neighborhoods, but residents will have to go out eventually (to school, supermarket, dry-cleaning). So why not invest the money in security for our whole country, or the banking industry? And then move to a normal neighborhood, and infest it with hard working, good and rich people (assuming that their money is clean, of course).

Besides, what’s wrong with living in a low-profile, humble-living way of life? The kidnappers will stop looking at you as a possible “business”. Your kids will play with other kids. And eventually, if these things disappear, we will no longer be afraid to let our kids out to the park by themselves. If your house is well watched, it will attract well trained criminals; if not, a well trained Rottweiler will handle small burglars.

Named as the second reason is that this time consuming formulas encourage social resentment. This exclusive “cotos” tend to segregate people, sending an “I’m-better-than-you” message. The people in lower classes will grow angry with rich people and will use any chance of getting at them whenever they can, i.e. scratching with a key rich-people-looking cars. Until they reach heights of such magnitude as big politicians who say rich people are bad, poor people are good. And will shake entirely this country once again.

The third reason is that by driving extended distances they’re exposing themselves. First because they can be car-jacked in their long journeys home. The other is because some people living in richer “cotos” feel superior and tend to believe they can drive drunk (if they get stopped, they have enough money to bribe the officer, among other reasons). And we all know what happens when you mix powerful engines with powerful beverages.

We can choose to live or not to live in one of these suburban neighborhoods, but we cannot always choose where our friends will live. For lots of them will believe in the “cotos” developers bluff for a safer living. And we will eventually have to pay them a visit, stop our car at the entrance, yell their address, show an ID, and have endured car-packed streets.

So, this guarded neighborhoods point their inhabitants as a target, foment angry behaviors among lower classes, make the city less safe for car drivers, and on top of it, they force all the remaining society to waste our precious time. These time-wasting policies must be forbidden for they do not increase security, in fact, as we have discussed, they diminish it. If the government can’t, the people must discard them by any means.

3 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

Muy interesante

Juan Andrés dijo...

Pienso qu elo más importante qu ela gente busca al vivir en estos "cotos" es el status y ya la seguridad viene despues.
Sería interesante encuestar a difereivenntes habitantes de diversas zonas residenciales y averiguar como suseguridas esta siendo afectada o beneficiada por el lugar en donde v

Luisfer dijo...

Es muy cierto que la gente busca status. Es también la razón de comprar coches lujosos. Muchos se escudan en que es más seguro tener un coche grande y lujoso porque protege de los choques; de ser así esta gente solo compraría Volvos. Pasa lo mismo con los cotos solo se busca el estatus y no por la seguridad. Y es eso justo lo que no me gusta; no me gusta que la gente presuma.