Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prime Passage: Privacy by Garret Keizer

"I wonder how privacy would look in a society in which private life was not so thoroughly defined and so frequently degraded by consumerism. More than forty years ago economist Gary Becker observed that as people acquire an increasing number of consumer goods, the time they spend with each item decreases. The ultimate result, predicted his colleague Staffan Linder, would be a 'leisure' that grew increasingly hectic as people tried to keep up with their multitudinous acquisitions. Linder's scenario hardly sounds conducive to intimate association, reflection, and creativity -- all qualities that privacy is usually credited with protecting. In addition to corrupting leisure by cluttering up private space and time, our consumables frequently include gizmos for peering into the private lives of others, or for publicizing our own in the fond hope that somebody else will find our frenzy more interesting than we do. (p.93) ... 

"Many of the threats to our private lives, it seems to me, come from people who lack much in the way of a private life of their own. Who would take the time to hack into someone else's computer who had a well-tended garden, a circle of loving friends, or a shelf full of good books? We are under siege by the vacuous as much as by the vicious." (p.114)

I highly recommend Keizer's Privacy. Buy it here.