SOCIAL CONTROL: Managing Non-Linear Social Dynamics
NON-LINEAR SOCIO-DYNAMICS: Explications Implications Applications
A 4-Dimensional Bifurcation Map
Chaos is ubiquitous
Chaos is functional
INTRODUCTION In this essay, I will try to explore some of the implications of chaos theory for social control theory. The most dramatic moments in the lived experience of most of us revolve around those times when we are forced out of our daily routines into quite different and often troublesome pathways. That we live in a time of great uncertainty is commonplace observation. That there are several different patterns of uncertainty and specific points at which one set of uncertainties expand into a much larger and much more disordered basin. This last point constitutes a drama of social knowledge such as has not been seen since the 1600s. We are at a turning point in the history of ideas informed by this new science of uncertainty we call Chaos theory.
Current theories of variant human behavior makes use of ideas about faulty genes, racial inferiority, character defects, deficiencies in mothering, inadequate controls as well as any number of deep psychological structures which generate behavior which some or most people find objectionable. It is commonplace to point out that such theories usually privilege one way of life over another and thus constitutes mere politics writ down as science. What is not well understood is that there are change points at which social control tactics simply don't work. Eugenics, special classes in mothering, ethnic 'purification,' more police and harsh sanctions simply do not explain nor serve well the human need for pattern and predictability.
You have read of the social history and of the special nature of Chaos in earlier works cited and in the pages which precede these. If we are to be co-authors of the drama of social life, we must pay heed to the regularities found inside uncertainty and use them to shape and preshape human destiny. We will never have the kind of control envisioned by Newton, Laplace, Comte, Marx, Weber, Parsons or any other grand theorist---but we will have some part to play in the unfolding dramas of history and biography. We will never evolve toward some utopia in which all good and decent citizens will find place and peace. But we can, perchance, preshape the drama of survival or of annihilation.
Out of this new science of uncertainty will come new psychologies, new sociologies and quite new clinical methods. Chaos theory, most congenial to some expressions of postmodern sensibility, will inform psychiatry and corrections in ways far different from their present configurations as psychiatrists and policy analysts begin to incorporate the findings of Chaos research in the administration of hospitals, asylums and corrections. The trend toward a police state in which a growing portion of the workforce is deployed to watch, to control and to confine the rest of us is, in a moment, diverted by the lessons to be learned.
All of this is part of the great drama of social enquiry which awaits. To be alive and to understand at moments like this is reward enough for all the trouble it takes to learn and to teach.
Searching for Certainty Amid Uncertainty The quest for knowledge about the changing relationship between order and disorder requires us to appreciate that there are three distinctly different chaotic regimes; each one requiring a different approach for social control. I will refer to first, second order and third order chaos in aid of coping with chaos. Most of the data and the control tactics come from the North American experience--largely the USA. However, the same features of nonlinear systems apply around the world.
The central lesson to be learned from such an exploration for those concerned with human behavior and misbehavior is that, under most nonlinear conditions, direct and tight control is costly and bears little fruit. First order control tactics do not work to control second order chaos. A corollary is that under far from linear dynamics, social control is impossible. Yet there is pattern and order sufficient to the policy process to be found in nonlinear social dynamics if a society has the wit and wisdom to study and to respond carefully to those patterns. This is the story of the patterns and what they offer the human imagination in the way of social policy for the constraint of unwanted behaviors.
In considering the costs and efficacy of social control tactics, one must switch perspectives in several directions. One can look at the bifurcations in a single key parameter which brings increasing disorder. One can take the perspective of the single individual woman, student or worker and consider the effects of multiple uncertainties; even first order uncertainty can be a great problem for people who must deal with two, three or four of them in key domains. Then one might change to consider macro-analytic transformations. Brian Berry (1992) of the University of Texas, Dallas, has looked at long term Kondratieff waves and has found some nonlinearities upon which to plan economic strategy on a more global scale. In Chaos theory, scale of observation is everything.
Reason and Rationality in Nonlinear Dynamics A central point of the essay, for those interested in epistemology and the philosophy of science is that Reason is very different from Rationality. One can find a thin and shaky rationality, technically understood, in some near to stable nonlinear regimes but Reason requires one to step back into space-time, look at the larger patterns of social encounters and, gently, to mediate those dynamics at strategic points while opening up the normative order in times of great uncertainty to tolerate very different ways to do economics, politics, religion, school, play or policing.
Managing First Order Chaos There are times when the regulation of chaos is best oriented to the moderation of key parameters inside and outside the boundaries of the system(s) of interest. These times are marked by proximity to any one of the first two Feigenbaum numbers of which more later. Social policy can temper these key parameters and delay the onset of full blown chaos; in principle such semi-stable dynamics can survive, in human terms, for whole eras and epochs. One identifies key parameters; determines the changes in them and enacts policy to retard movement to that point at which a given normative is no longer possible.
If a society can keep key parameters within specified boundaries, it can facilitate semi-stable dynamics of the sort so dear to the heart of the conservative---and so valuable to the human condition. Yet control of those key variables are likely to intrude into the privileges and advantages of powerful groups within a society. If, as I suspect, those key variables are those which have long been of interest to radical scholarship and to revolutionaries; parameters of inequality in class, status and power, then moderation of, say class inequality requires policy which moderates (but does not eliminate) the flow of wealth from one class to another; from one group to another; from one society to another; from one economic bloc to another. Such intrusion is said to be tampering with the laws of nature or society or economy or God.
Yet Chaos theory suggests that, given 4, 8, 16 or more bifurcations in wealth, status or power, great uncertainty intrudes itself upon human history. The semi-stable societies have been those which have managed to mediate such inequality of class, status and power by redistributive economics; by encompassing religious forms and by democratic governance practices. It is a principle of a nonlinear theory of control that nonlinear feedback loops stabilize while linear feedback loops, both positive and negative, destabilize. Positive feedback loops destabilize by blowing an attractor apart much as the positive feedback between a microphone and a speaker produces that screech at concerts and lectures which interfere with proceedings. Negative feedback loops defeat flexibility and change; thus end in death for the society which uses them as a logic for social control. Part of the Drama of Social Enquiry which is found in these pages lies in the empirical evidence that too much freedom produces far from stable equilibrium as does too much constrain. It is thus not a case of freedom versus oppression which is at issue in any postmodern theory of regulation but rather when and when freedom is best enjoyed; when and where is repression best deployed.
Key parameters have, in fact, bifurcated again and again in the USA. We live in a society in which there is great certainty for some of us and great uncertainty for others of us. Bifurcations in wealth, social status and political power have produces inequalities not possible in simpler societies. Inequalities in wealth, ethnic and gender status together with great inequality in the various forms of power in turn have produced a society in which more and more people, more and more businesses and more and more societies have turned to more and more unwanted behaviors in order to survive the Winters of their discontent. Second order Chaos is common in the American experience for far too many people. 1
Managing Second Order Chaos Once a Feigenbaum bifurcation point has been reached and a causal field expanded, then quite another tactic is appropriate. At those times, the best managerial tactic is to try to avoid regions in an outcome basin with too much order or too little flexibility. We shall see that, in say a butterfly attractor, the regions between the two wings are of great uncertainty.
Third Order Chaos. Finally, with the onset of far from stable chaos, a third strategy is appropriate. One does not speak of 'managing' anything. At those times, entirely new possibilities open up and the astute government, governing Board, administrative officer or guiding council will seek to exploit those new dynamics. It is in this region of an outcome basin when the paired human interests in pattern on the one side and change on the other hangs in most delicate balance. Wisdom and judgment replace reason and technique as the operative knowledge process.
FOUNDATIONAL IDEAS in Containing Chaos The first lesson to be learned is that, in order to manage chaos, one must identify key parameters and the points at which further increase creates entirely new outcome basins. In Chaos theory, in any nonlinear system there are times when large parameter differences are absorbed by the system and times when small changes in key parameters make great difference. It is the point at which a small change can expand a causal basin that is of the greatest interest to those in administrative science or in policy positions. When large changes are absorbed by system-environment interactions, control effort is useless.
A second point of great moment for social control theory is that, while variations around a central tendency may be understood in terms of individual differences and individual decisions, qualitative change from one social form to another is to be found in the interactions within members of a set or between two or more interacting systems rather than in the differences between members of a set per se. Without any change at all in the genetic or psychological organization of such organisms, very similar individuals, firms or families may take very different life courses depending upon dynamics of variables external to the individual organism. In brief, there are times when social control efforts are best oriented to specific individuals and times when social control efforts are best directed at system parameters.
A third generic point is that each nonlinear dynamical system has a dynamical key hidden under transitory perturbations. If one can find that dynamical key for a political system or an economic system, one can calculate the driving force needed to turn it toward near to stable dynamics. This is the leading edge of control theory today. Much of this work is found at the Center for Complex Systems Research of the University of Illinois. A. Hübler (1992) has reported on the heuristics and mathematics of control theory.
Most of the work at Illinois involves nonlinear physical systems the data from which is readily available. For social systems, there is not much research effort to be found. However Stephen Guastello, of Marquette University has developed a technique for determining the efficacy of intervention in a nonlinear environment. That technique is used to gauge the degree to which any given hiring policy is optimal to the labor needs in the construction industry. Guastello (1992) found that a nonlinear strategy yielded less variance in terms of actual need than did a linear strategy.
Only Chaos can cope with Chaos The lesson to be learned from all this is that only variety can cope with the variety found in the environment. H. Ross Ashby had said the same thing in the 1950s. 2 However, what Ashby did not include is the point that the variety itself must be nonlinear. Linear response, however intuitively right, just and rational it might seem, is not as efficacious as is nonlinear response. Nonlinear heartbeat is a better pattern with which to meet nonlinear demands of the body for oxygen and nutrition than is a regular heartbeat. A nonlinear population strategy is superior to the survival potential of moths, wolves, or lemmings than is a neat and tidy pattern so dear to the hearts of modern science.
However prevailing wisdom, oriented to a newtonian modality of management, tends to try for tight control of workers, students, customers, patients, soldiers or any other social actor. Given the near to stable dynamics of a torus, such control might well be appropriate. However, if a workforce is itself dealing with uncertainties, then such managerial tactics will not work. If a student body is young, innocent and has few alternatives, then a rigorous dress code and behavioral code might well survive. If a student body is multicultural, has job obligations or other options for matriculation, then such a policy is doomed. If a set of customers has few options in the acquisition of goods and services they need--or think they need--then a near to linear managerial strategy might be adequate to the task. If customers have other options for a given commodity, then efforts to corner a market will fail. When the configurations between order and disorder change, then managerial wisdom best moves to a differing strategy.
The next section will review the many post hoc efforts to control and constrain the behavior of women, minorities, workers, and members of formal organizations in a time of chaos. In general, when tactics appropriate to first order chaos are still used, they will fail. More and more control is not the best solution to the problem of order in the dynamics of second and third order chaos. Many workers, women, and minority persons now live amid several collated uncertainties. Many can manage one, two and sometimes three such uncertainties but given one more, they perforce move to forms of behavioral inimical to conventional behavioral modification theory. More of the same when sameness is no more is an exercise in wasted resources. Such is the present effort; more and more control rather than dealing with those uncertainties which give rise to pretheoretic behavior.
SOCIAL CONTROL STRATEGY TODAY The USA prides itself on being the freest nation in the world. The facts speak otherwise. The USA has the most extensive set of controls in place in workplace, school, marketplace, military and public life of any other society in the world. I will review those control efforts and weigh their costs in terms of their successes.
Overcontrolling Chaos There are at least seven major systems of social control in the United States. These include:
1) the criminal justice system. It
deals mostly with street crime.
2) the Military Justice system. It deals mostly with street crime committed by those in the armed forces.
3) the Administrative Justice System. It is composed of the many regulatory Agencies of the Federal, State, and Local governments. It is the system which is supposed to prevent corporate crime.
4) the Peer Review system which monitors the behavior of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, pharmacists, hairdressers, accountants, real estate agents and professors.
5) the Private Security systems which monitors employees, customers, and competitors. It is the largest and fastest growing control agency.
6) the Religious justice system which monitors and sanctions members of a religious group. Fundamentalist religions spend much time on the regulation of the behavior of their members.
7) the Medical justice system which evaluates and controls the behavior of those who are said to be ill rather than criminal. It includes the mental health system as well as chemotherapy prescribed by general practitioners to control 'deviant' behavior.
8) the Social Welfare system which monitors and controls the behavior of those to whom welfare payments are made...usually the poor but sometimes others.
Other Control Systems Besides those
justice systems there are such informal social control systems such as the K.K.K., the
White Citizens' Army, the Jewish Defense League and the political underground. They are
discussed in the chapter on political crime.
There is also a large and growing arbitration system in which private parties ask third parties to make binding judgments about what is right and what is fair. The mediation system helps those in conflict relations negotiate settlements.
The 22 secret agencies of the Federal government also make judgments about people and engage in punitive action. Each state and many cities in the USA have underground policing units which are outside the regular policing philosophy. The C.I.A. employs thousands of Americans and hundreds of foreign nationals to control nations and whole regions of the world.
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM The C.J.S. is comprised of police, prisoners, lawyers, judges, wardens, and probation officers as well as a wide array of auxiliary personnel such as teachers, psychologists, doctors, parole officers and social workers. There are many business firms which supply and service jails, prisons, half-way houses and other holding facilities. These add up to a multi-billion dollar industry in support of the criminal justice system.
The logic which informs the criminal justice system is, in practice, nonlinear. There is little direct connection between who commits crime and who gets what kind of punishment. Yet there is a rough logic which underlies the system. Generally, poor young minority males who, by virtue of the operation of a complex set of external factors, end up in prison. If we consider a prison as one of a set of outcome states, then we can see that the whole criminal justice system in concert with racist practices, class privilege, and gendering practices, acts as a sorting device by which class, race and gender privilege is reproduced.
There may be a fair amount of equity in the treatment of any two young males; black, white or chicano. However, there is a exogenous set of factors which preselect young white males and send them on to college and to quite a different fate (and perchance, quite a different kind of crime). The linearity found once a person is caught up in the criminal justice system is offset by the greater nonlinearity which race and class, together ensure to keep young white middle class males who commit the same amount and kind of crime from prison. Nonlinearity, in this case, is in service of race and class privilege.
There may be much self-similarity in the way a given judge or a court system treats two young unmarried women: white, black or brown. Yet married women or women with dependent children are given quite different treatment by the criminal justice system. They are excused from the same treatment as single women without dependents. In this case, nonlinearity serves to reward women who enact the traditional role of mother and housekeeper while according other women the same (linear) treatment of men.
How many are under the control of the CJS? Some 1,100,000 persons are in prisons and jails in the U.S. today. About 1 in 400 citizens was behind bars in 1992. This compares to 1 in 800 in 1970. The USA has, by far, the largest percentage of its population in prison than any other country in the world. The prison system today is filled to 124% capacity. 37 states are under court order to reduce prison populations and improve prison conditions. Most of these are young, male and poor.
According to the same National Institute of Justice Report, in 1989, there were 1,900,000 people are on probation. Most of those are poor, young, male and minorities. These are precisely the persons for whom second order uncertainties pile up the fastest. Racism itself is a great uncertainty since one is unsure of how one will be received at work, in church, on the job, at school or in the various public settings in which one perforce finds one's self. In a slave society, certainty is found; in an egalitarian society, certainty is found. In ambivalent society, uncertainty abounds. Add the uncertainties that minority persons face during economic recessions together with the usual run of illnesses and other natural calamities and one finds many minority people trying to cope with overlapping uncertainties.
The number of persons in prison or on probation in the criminal justice system does not include those juveniles held in group homes, work camps, nor does it count all those who are referred to the military instead of jail. It does not include illegal aliens held in a dozen prisons around the country by the immigration service. It does not include those in military prison. It does not include those assigned to and held against their will in mental institutions. It does not include the elderly who are adjudged incompetent and are made wards of the court or of a relative. Such figures do not include those who are released on bail or their own recognizance. It does not include the hundreds of thousands who have been paroled early to make way for new prisoners.
Since 1983, states have spent 3 billion dollars per year to build more prisons. In 1992, the USA will spend $60 billion to catch, judge, care and feed prisoners. This is 3 times the amount spent in 1980. It amounts to about $650 per person in the USA. This contrasts to the per person prison cost in Japan which amounts to about $16. The number of people under the control of the state is large in America and increases every year. We are becoming a vast prison for the underclass. Almost 2 men of 10 are under the control of the state in America. Over 3 black men out of ten are under the supervision of the State in any given year. First order control tactics are not only costly and unproductive but they involve a vast cycle of people into the criminal justice system where they grow more proficient at generating tactics with which to cope with their own private and civic uncertainties after release. Given the overloading of the criminal justice system, the half-life of any given category of crime shortens by orders of magnitude.
The Military Justice System A separate subsection of the Criminal Justice System is the Military Justice System. Informed by the Unified Code of Military Justice, it processes enlisted personnel and officers in the armed forces. Its prisons are filled, for the most part, with Blacks and Chicanos. Bifurcations in military caste, class and racial preference join to divert minorities into military prisons.Most of its procedures are swift and it gives scant attention to rules of evidence, due process, right to competent counsel or other constitutional guarantees.
As with the civilian systems of justice, it tends to privilege an elite. In the military, the ranking officers are exculpated while enlisted ranks are subject to punitive response for their delicts. When one looks at the logic of such a system, one finds nonlinear response to crime by officers and a rough linearity to that justice dispensed to enlisted ranks. Officers get mercy; rank and file get justice.
La Migra The Immigration Service runs several prisons which are very much like military prisons. There are about 4100 Border Patrol police who arrest about 141,000 immigrants each month. All of these are poor, minority people (USA Today, 6 Aug., 1987). Most of the candidates for migrate prisons are those themselves who live in the great third order uncertainties created by an international system which moves food and wealth from poor countries into richer countries. Each day, inequalities between rich and poor nations grow. The growing uncertainties at home are much greater than the uncertainties of migration.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE SYSTEM The administrative justice system includes the F.T.C., the I.R.S., E.E.O.C., O.S.H.A., F.D.A., S.E.C., E.P.A. and a hundred other state, federal and local agencies. Instead of police and weapons as the technology of social control, the A.J.S. employs lawyers, accountants, economists and other highly skilled functionaries. Charged with the enforcement of labor laws, occupational safety laws, consumer protection laws, banking and stock exchange laws, and environmental protection laws, the Administrative Justice System represents, putatively, the collective interests of all segments of society.
In the past 20 years, second and third order transformations at home and abroad have occurred in the global economy which has made compliance to such legislation more and more inimical to corporate America. 3 The first order certainties required by law have made it difficult for American firms to carry on business as usual. The choice has been, more and more often, to violate the law or face bankruptcy. Corporate crime in the form of union busting, pollution, price fixing, bribery, and violation of currency exchange laws is very attractive for those CEOs who have to report ever greater profits or face dismissal by a governing board.
Deregulating Corporate Crime. Given the fiscal crisis with US firms competing with firms in other capitalist nations for markets in the Third World, the effort by the Reagan and Bush administrations to decriminalize pollution, unsafe working conditions, monopoly practices or dangerous additives to food is rational to the preservation of jobs and attraction of investment capital. American business cannot compete in the world capitalist system, make profits, pay decent wages, expand, retool, contribute to political candidates, and, at the same time, obey the law. First order certainties compound second order uncertainties.
After WWII, USA firms had the global economy well in hand. By the 1970s, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Brazil, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other developed nations were able to move into markets formerly a semi-monopoly of American firms. In order to establish some kind of presence in third world countries, American firms began to build overseas facilities. These overseas facilities had the added advantage of coping with environmental constraints, labor union demands for wages, pensions, health care and safe working conditions as well as tax policies which had been extracting wealth from business in order to redistribute it too those groups dear to the heart of Congress.
Again, it is the use of certainty by a control system for business which, in a time of second order uncertainty, leads to corporate crime or to corporate flight. Managing chaos by recourse to rigorous enforcement of the law in a time of disorder is counterproductive to the generation of order. Curious as it may seen, law and order do not dwell in the same theoretical house in a time of Chaos.
THE PRIVATE JUSTICE SYSTEM The Private Security System is large and growing. There are about 870,000 police who staff the Criminal Justice System but there are over a million private security officers (1991). The Private Justice System is owned and operated by private corporations which hire or lease security services to private companies. Most of the private security is found in the monopoly sector since that's where the most crime against business is located. Private security agents such as outside auditors, temporary 'employees,' or computer detectives monitor middle managers because they have the trust of the company and can use that trust to commit theft and conversion for personal profit on a large scale.
If someone is following him, watching him, investigating him, protecting him or guarding his treasures, it is far likelier to be a private policeman than the CIA, the FBI, or the county Sheriff.
...San Francisco Examiner
Growth of Private Security The
Private Security System is large and growing for a variety of reasons. In brief, customers
and employees try to manage the uncertainties in their own life by extracting order from
the well ordered corporation.
1. Shoplifting, checkwriting and employee theft varies with economic conditions.
In the U.S., a large and permanent
underclass of the working poor and the unwaged has grown. People in this stratum reunite
production and distribution by crimes including theft from both large and small business.
2. Hostility toward big business continues.
Several factors combine to produce
hostility: take home pay of lower echelon workers has declined since 1969. Corporate crime
is occasionally publicized. Corporate profits in the monopoly sector hold firm at 15%
despite this economic crisis. To steal from the rich resonates with the populist attitudes
of America. It is a pretheoretical form of street justice.
3. Life crises of employees, especially
white collar employees, continue.
Home foreclosures are at an alltime high
rate since the 30's. Divorce brings about financial troubles for the employees of
corporations. Economic cycles affect the retirement investments of employees, some of whom
have opportunity to steal from the corporation to protect their retirement plans.
4. In every organization there are any
number of employees who, rightly or wrongly feel they have been treated unfairly by the
Passed over for promotion, subjected to
personal humiliation by 'superiors,' cheated of credit for creative work or simply angry
at company policy or at working conditions; these employees spend time thinking about how
to get even. Theft is sweet revenge for some.
5. Preemployment investigation is a large
and growing business.
Drug use, employee theft, and undisclosed
problems with alcohol, at former jobs, or family crisis create problems of cost and profit
for the employer.
These factors: employee theft, vandalism,
and unwanted personal habits or working practices produce the growth in the Private
Private agents watch workers closely for:
|theft||fraud||waste of time|
|falsification of records||forgery||inadequate supervision|
|sabotage of machinery
|working on personal business||union organizing|
|talking about things other than company business|
Who are the Private Police? Most
private police are men who aren't equipped to find work elsewhere. They are low paid
guards who work long hours to make a living. Douglas Timmer, a criminologist who
specializes in the area, says private police often lack the basic physical, mental,
educational or, in some cases, age and citizenship requirements to compete for better
jobs. They face uncertainties of their own; some are educationally marginal. Some have
problems of alcohol and other drugs which destabilize their life. Some have family
problems and most have a very shaky budget.
Where do they Work? Private police are found everywhere: in apartment buildings, shops, department stores, office buildings, factories, museums, schools, universities, hospitals, theaters stadia, buses, and subways. Insurance companies use them; loan companies use them and defense attorneys in criminal cases hire them to discredit witnesses.
Privatizing Control Money could be saved and profits increased if the policing function were paid for by taxpayers but there are good reasons for firms to avoid the police whenever possible. If the private corporation uses public police officers to protect them from theft, that would mean the continued presence of a policing force not directly under the command of the corporate hierarchy. The cost of private security seems worth it since it gives management control over the policing process. Managers do not want to deal with the great uncertainties which public security forces entail. Public police might well have proper cause to police the top echelon and the organization itself. Since most white collar crime by company employees is committed by that top hierarchy, it would be inviting discovery were there permanent public policing presence on the grounds.
Franchise Justice The most recent form of expansion of the private security system is to be found in private courtrooms. The uncertainties of delay and of expense can be avoided by using private jurisprudence. There are several national franchises which offer fast and low cost justice to plaintiffs and defenders. Judicate is one such system which renders judgments binding on both parties.
Judicate has franchises in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Judicate judges charge a fee for each case based on how long it takes to hear the evidence. The judges are usually experts in the case at hand and all are former judges. In the public court system, a case might take five or ten years to get on the court calendar. In private courts, such cases are resolved in days or weeks. Other such private courts are available from EnDispute, another private justice service. The American Arbitration Association also has members who render judgments for a fee to those who can afford the price.
There is much to be said for such services, the judges are impartial, expert, experienced and available. The negativities are the fee-for-service feature which eliminates most poor people from access to such legal service much as in other market places. Judges must consider the market in making decisions as well. Too many decisions in favor of customers or workers would mean the end of business from large corporations or from law firms...and fees would disappear.
However, such post hoc redress of grievance and dispute does not speak to the larger parameters which produce conflict and grievance. Again, post hoc control of chaos is costly. In a time of great uncertainty, fines, awards and penalties do not deter corporate crime or white collar crime.
THE PEER REVIEW SYSTEM The peer review system consists of an elected or appointed Board which hears complaints against a professional person. The essence of white collar crime is that it entails a breach of trust between two parties, one of whom is very dependent upon the good faith of the other. If a client complains that a professional person has violated the position of trust implicit in the social relationship between the two for the personal advantage of the professional, the client can file a complaint to one of the many Regulatory Boards established by various professions to adjudicate complaints.
Most states concede jurisdiction over a wide variety of offenses against a clientele to these private justice systems. The thought is that only another professional can really understand the facts of the case. Average citizens could not judge whether a crime was or was not committed. There is much merit to such a policy...indeed, it is found in the American Constitution which calls for a jury of one's peers in adjudicating guilt or innocence. However fair and impartial such peer groups are; and there is much to criticize, still it is an effort at post hoc control which ignores the larger social milieu in which such crimes occur.
Who is Controlled? Professors, lawyers, referees, doctors, accountants, real estate agents, police, legislators, judges, dentists, stock brokers and other quasiautonomous groups are recused, to a large degree, from policing by the various lawenforcing bodies. If one is accused of a crime by one's client, one is policed and tried by one's peers, who are also one's colleagues, partners, schoolmates, friends and references.
Policing of the P.R.S. is casual, loose, infrequent, gentle and forebearing. Usually such complaints are dismissed by the Chairperson of the hearing committee. But if a complaint does go before a jury of one's peers, the results are far different from those of the Criminal Justice System
Middle class college professors who teach while drunk, who harass students sexually, who convert state property to private use, who use drugs or who work at other businesses in conflict with their teaching and research responsibilities are seldom tried or sanctioned by their peers. Doctors who overprescribe, overcut, overcharge and conspire with colleagues to overconsult are overlooked by the P.R.S. Ordinarily, only flagrant and repeated abuse will trigger the P.R.S.
Lawyers, C.P.A.s, stockbrokers, bankers, psychologists, real estate brokers, sociologists, and nurses as well as priestly functionaries and a dozen other professions claim exemption from the Criminal Justice System on the grounds of esoteric knowledge or special conditions. Such groups use that dispensation, as well, to cover up the vast harm they do to the clients with whom they have a special trust relationship.
Friedson (1984) notes, such control systems do two things for professionals:
1. They provide a special shelter in the
2. They help professionals maintain control over their own fate.
There are other models in which
professionals are accountable to outsiders. They could be accountable to an elite for
rules set by another elite indeed that is a major trend as those in real estate, law,
medicine, brokerage and other independent professionals go to work for large companies.
Professionals could be accountable directly to their clients. Pepinsky (1985), suggests a face to face mediation in which doctors, lawyers, and professors would be required to work out a just response to white collar crime with their victims...in the presence of a neutral third party.
How the System Works Typically, a doctor or lawyer or professor will be charged with some form of flagrant violation of a trust relationship. If the complaining party has sufficient social power, a panel of peers will be constituted and a semiformal hearing of evidence will be undertaken. If the evidence is compelling, some token penalty will be imposed. If the case is especially egregious, the professional person can be subjected to heavy penalties; they can be disbarred, decertified, defrocked or dismissed.
As far as the Criminal Justice System is concerned, the case is be closed. The Criminal Justice System and the Administrative Justice System will honor these pro forma hearings as having satisfied the need for justice. As a rule, there is no appeal and little justice. The P.R.S. is more a guardian of the privileges of a profession than a social control agent. in such a stance, the system offers nonlinear response to crime. That is, there is no direct connection between the offense and the outcome of the hearing; both the guilty and the innocent are exculpated.
This nonlinearity serves to maintain the stability of the behavior among a professional group. It is superior to neglect from the point of view of the profession since it offers the dramaturgical facsimile of justice but not its substance. The practices in question serve to transfer order from a clientele (patients, home buyers, investors, or clients) and thus solve the problem of order for the professional group but may well destabilize the lives of their victims. Victims, in turn, have taken to seek other remedy in order to preserve the order in their own lives.
Civil Law Damage suits against professionals are increasing. More and more people are losing confidence in the peer review system as a way to safeguard the common interest. They are turning to Civil Law for remedy. In a society oriented to private accumulation, individualism as well as class, gender and racial antagonisms, trust relationships are easily transgressed by professionals. English law, in order to exclude and thus protect merchants, made a distinction between torts and crimes.
Torts are defined as private matters to be settled in civil court; crimes are defined as public matters to be settled in the criminal justice system. Such definitions effectively protect all most all white collar professionals as well as corporate officers from the criminal justice system.
Again, however much civil proceedings yield better results from the point of view of the victim, still it is a post hoc and reductionist regulatory tactic which cannot cope with the factors which drive white collar crime.
Among those factors are several sets of uncertainties for professionals; life style concerns, divorce, retirement, catastrophic illness, and investment uncertainties. The investments uncertainties are, in turn, driven by violations of trust by still other professionals as well as economic cycles beyond the touch of any court.
WELFARE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Not only is there a criminal justice system involved in social control of those in the underclass, there is also a welfare system. There are two reasons to view the Social Welfare system as a regulatory system:
1. It has a body of rules, impartially
applied with a judging routine as well as a weak appeals system.
2. It tries to repair the harm done by exploitative class, gender and racial relations.
The state welfare system, social security,
unemployment compensation, V.A. benefits, hot lunch programs, Medicaid and Medicare, loans
and grants to college students as well as to farmers, small businesses and others comprise
this social justice system.
Some 345,000 social workers police the sexual life, household habits, child rearing practices and workplace practices of the poor and the disemployed. One is to be thrifty, obedient, truthful, humble, clean, sober, hard working, punctual, sexually abstinent and self sacrificing for one's children. If one does not meet the standards of personal comportment established by state and agency rules, resources are withheld. These rules tend to privilege a conventional middle class life style which presumes a standard American family [Mom and Dad and Bud and Sis] with Dad working at adequate wages or salary.
In some states and nations, the welfare system is supportive and enabling and in some it is cheap, mean-spirited and accusatory of women who do not obey the rules of the system. Generally states with a lot of minority women on welfare and/or a lot of conservative men running the system are the most mean-spirited.
Welfare Workers as Police When a women with children on welfare does not behave as the welfare bureaucracy decides she must, she is punished by denial of resources.
The following kinds of behavior are defined as cause for punishment by those who make policy for many welfare systems:
--part-time work to augment household income
--co-habitation with a male
--neglect of children for any reason (including work or recreation
--failure to impart middle class standards to children
--improper demeanor: lack of respect to the social worker, coarse language, talking back, lying, sluttish behavior in personal dress, demeanor or housekeeping.
--economic crimes such as prostitution, shoplifting, or writing of bad checks.
--failure to pay bills.
--using welfare funds for unauthorized reasons: loaning money to friends, buying liquor, cigarettes, or other 'nonessentials.'
Social workers, just out of college, take
jobs in social welfare departments. After a few months, they begin to realize that they
have to function more like police than facilitator.
At the same time, welfare workers discover that they have very little flexibility to adjust the rules. Bureaucratic rationality trumps the reasoning of the welfare worker. Nonlinear response would cope with the uncertainties faced by the poor but the tight and narrow policies of public welfare cannot bend to respond to such exigencies. Most welfare workers find that they, themselves must lie, connive and bend the rules in order to get resources to people who need them. Both welfare worker and the police are seen as an hostile force occupying rather than serving the neighborhood.
Out of this face-off between uncertainty among the poor and insistence upon linear compliance emerging out of bureaucratic rationality comes a larger irrationality in which each is made enemy to the other.
Who is Controlled There are about 10 million adults and 18 million children who come under the aegis of the Social Welfare system in America. These are mostly Anglo women and their dependent children.
Social workers are forced, by the rules of the welfare bureaucracy to ask the most personal questions, to coerce the recipient into obeying many rules or lose benefits and to check into the private life of the recipient at unlikely times to see if the rules of eligibility are violated.
Recipients are forced to betray social relationships, to violate basic human values and to humiliate themselves before the social worker if they are to get the benefits to which they are entitled by law and as human beings. Part of the dynamics of teenage pregnancy is the difficulty of young men to get a job and the readiness of the welfare state to pay housing for single women but not for the father of their children.
Families are forced to split since males living in the home preclude benefits. Women are forced to find others to care for their infants and children since many states demand that mothers work away from home. Women are tempted to lie or otherwise cheat since welfare benefits cannot cover the costs of a decent life style for children.
THE RELIGIOUS JUSTICE SYSTEM The Religious Justice System [R.J.S.] appeals to gods and to a sense of the divine as a way to elicit prosocial behavior. It is informed primarily by moral power. Priests, ministers, rabbis and preachers have social power in small congregations but little social, economic or physical power with which to shape thinking, behavior and feelings of those in larger congregations.
There are several basic assumptions held by believers which give moral power its efficacy. Among these are:
1. There is a divine plan according to which
all good and decent people should live. Across cultures, this plan may or may not contain
the idea of spirits, gods or a God.
2. The divine plan includes proper ways of behaving: live in peace; honor the established structures of social life and one will find favor in the eyes of God--or escape the malevolence of evil spirits.
3. Failure to follow the divine plan requires punishment; usually one forfeits one's claim to be in good standing within a community of believers. Some religions have a Hell to which offenders of divine law are said to go.
4. One can regain a state of grace in the eyes of God or community by confessing one's sins, begging forgiveness and by sinning no more.
These beliefs are inculcated into young
people in the socialization process. They become part of the fabric of self: who I am and
how I deal with the problematics of life. This internalization of religious values creates
moral power which significant others may use to shape the behavior of those who would do
harm to another or dishonor the social relations sanctified by religion.
The central agents of social control in the R.J.S. are usually religious functionaries but the power to judge, punish and rehabilitate is sometimes distributed more broadly in the religious community and is vested in all adults. In patriarchal societies, it is invested in the senior male of family or in a male council.
Who is Policed In the USA, the R.J.S. is located primarily in the lower working class and among women and minorities. While most people say they believe in god and a divine plan, the solid core of believers in the USA who take religion seriously in all parts of their lives probably numbers fewer than 10 percent of the population or about 25 million people. Included in this number are many Catholics, Baptists, and Mormons. Orthodox Jews take their religion very seriously as do the Hutterites and a hundred religious enclaves inspired by Eastern Religions or even more exotic religions.
Such believers, experiencing great guilt and shame, present themselves for private judgment to their priests confessing to a wide variety of 'sins' from adultery, alcoholism, theft, incest, battery and homicide. Some rise before a congregation, admit guilt, ask for help and prayer, testify to the help already received and promise to do better. They bring their children to the priest and force confession, seek guidance and accept a judgment over weeks, months and years.
The fundamentalist minister, rabbi or imam calls forth people in the religious community to account for their behavior and insist upon renunciation of sin and temptation. In response, people who know that they have violated the morés of their society raise and confess. In that confession is an admission of wrong doing, an acceptance of personal responsibility, and an implicit promise to go and sin no more.
Religious policing is oriented more to protecting and preserving the solidarity of the religious community than in punishment and exclusion of individuals. There are cases where people are excommunicated, and more rarely, physically punished but usually religious justice is less punitive and debilitating than that administered in the criminal justice system. There are never any constitutional protections but often procedural safeguards against casual or personal animosity.
The harm done by the offender is usually confined to the social structure itself centering around violations of rules of marriage, of sexual repression, of kinship duties, of community norms for cooperative work and responsible behavior. Harm done to outside persons is rare and more rarely policed. Property crimes are seldom policed since property rights are vested in the family or in the community if they exist at all in a religious community. One cannot 'steal' that which is owned collectively or which is to be shared freely.
One must note that religious control systems are far more effective in stabilizing life style than impartial rule directed and rational criminal bureaus. It well may be the very nonlinearity of faith and of judgment which is efficacious. Within the limits of the larger parameters which preshape human behavior, religion is superior at effecting pattern and compliance than is law or linear sanction.
THE MEDICAL JUSTICE SYSTEM The Medical Control system has taken over a wide variety of middle class behaviors formerly labelled as crime. Drug use, child abuse, gambling, homosexuality, adultery, abortion, alcoholism, shoplifting and drunk driving as well as wife beating, rape and occasionally murder have been claimed by the medical and allied professions as within their purview.
Peter Conrad of Brandeis University and Joseph Schneider (1980) trace the history of the medicalization of crime and deviancy in alcoholism, mental illness, child abuse, homosexuality, as well as the hyperactivity of children. Joel Rosecrance of Southeastern Louisiana University has discussed the use of the medical model to explain gambling. These studies point out that politics and economics are involved in the medicalization of crime. Both teams of researchers follow the pioneer work of Thomas Szasz and Thomas Scheff in exploring what is called the 'myth of mental illness.'
Today, the dominant forms of deviancy controlled in the Medical Justice System are those against the moral ordersexual variations and substance abuse. Crimes against the moral order are now called "victimless crimes." In a highly individualistic society, most actions are seen to be a matter of private choice. Fornication and prostitution are held to be a matter of private contract between consenting adults. The private use of drugs is held to be a matter of individual choice.
Medicalization of crime can be seen to be part of the decriminalization of control on sacred social supplies and activities together with the marketplace liberalism. The trend in a liberal capitalist state is to decriminalize the kinds of delicts of the middle classes by calling them madness or illness rather than badness. The freer the market, the easier it is to buy, sell, trade, disinvest, reinvest, or move capital. In market liberalism, the motto is: Let the buyer beware. Contracts between consenting adults in the marketplace stands in place of laws, courts, and the state control of harmful acts. The marketplace replaces the state. Libertarians advocate a radical anarchy of the marketplace.
Chaos theory suggests that, in order to understand variant usage of alcohol, drugs, and other psychogens as well as variant patterns of abusive behavior involving violence one would look for key parameters which converge to generate progressively unstable behavior. Anthropology teaches us that such alcohol, drugs and forms of violence have been used throughout human history as solidarity mechanisms. Alcohol and various other psychogens including gambling and physical risk have been used by a wide variety of societies as pathways to the Holy. One is said to come into contact with one's gods by ingesting substances which alter body chemistry. In turn, experiences in these altered body states are interpreted as divine inspiration.
The question then becomes, if such usage is normative, why is non-normative usage observed. There is a subsidiary question of why non-normative usage is controlled to which I will speak later. Now I want to suggest that it is, again, a cascade of uncertainties which lead people to variant usage patterns. Divorce, stress on the job, money problems, physical illness and other conditions, the outcome of which cannot be predicted may well be the factors which drive usage. Chaos theory would suggest research aimed at sorting out the kind of uncertainties faced by those who are in the margins between semi-stable attractors. It would suggest that, as uncertainties accumulate there are, among a given population, increases in drug or physical abuse until, at one of the feigenbaum points, behavior is stabilized around a given pattern of drug use or physical violence.
This contrasts to a linear model of drug use which holds that there is a straight line relationship between stress in one domain and drug use. Chaos theory suggests one look for break points, called catastrophes at which entirely new behavioral patterns emerge. Guastello, 1991, has used this approach to model the safety patterns of transit workers. Guastello collected and analyzed data on 290 transit workers which included questions about physical stress, social stress, anxiety as well as alcohol and drug use among other variables. He found that a cusp modelled the incidence of accidents (R = 0.71) better than did a linear model (R = 0.51).
The question of why a society would try to control the use of wine, beer, marijuana, peyote or cocaine is complex. In part, it has to do with the capacity of workers to get to work on time and to meet a standard of performance congenial to that imposed by a profit driven firm. Yet there are more profound motives which embrace industrial and pre-industrial societies. In brief, there are several cross cultural rules for the use of such psychogens, violation of which call down sanctions apart from the quantity consumed. The most general rule is that one does not do psychogens for private reasons outside the drama of the Holy. To do so is considered profane and entails repressive negative feedback. All societies have pejorative terms for those who drink, eat, or gamble outside of the Drama of the Holy. Those who drink alone are said to be alcoholics; those who eat in excess are said to be gluttons, those who imbibe drugs for private ecstasy are said to be addicts.
There are other rules, violation of which has little to do with social stability but much to do with cultural integrity. One can drink alcohol until one reaches stupor in some societies but a single marijuana cigarette is cause for great dismay. The rule is that psychogens used in other dramas of the Holy are forbidden in this drama of the Holy. One might contact the wrong divinity and do great harm to kin and clan. There is a rule that nonpersons may not touch or use such sacred supplies. When one puts all these together, in a context of stress and alienation, one can see why there is a great temptation to use psychogens for private purpose. The remaining question of for behavioral scientists is the pattern of that usage. Chaos theory offers a grounding for research to map out those patterns and, thus to help us understand when control effects succeed and when they fail.
UNDERGROUND CONTROL STRUCTURES Joining the man public and private control systems discussed above are a vast inventory of underground policing, judging, and sanctioning bodies. I will try to sort out the efficacy of such control systems using both Chaos theory and conflict theory as I have done above, but now I want to chart the more visible underground activities which try to control the behavior of many, many people in the USA.
Definition An underground social
control structure has one or more of the following characteristics:
1. Members violate legal or Constitutional
2. Members observe, try, judge and penalize people in secret.
3. Members keep their involvement hidden.
4. Members subscribe to an ideology which is hostile to one or more other groups.
5. Members are unable to use state power to gain their objectives.
These underground control structures include
various right-wing groups, some secret federal and state agencies, as well as employer
organizations which black ball people in business, journalism and academia. They are
social control systems in that they enforce the normative structures of our society. They
police people, judge them, sentence and execute sentences...all in a unlawful and secret
There are many other underground structures in the United States oriented to variant sexual, religious, educational, economic, and artistic behavior. Ordinarily they do not try to police others; they simply live in a way which differs from the socially accepted institutions.
TERRORISM IN THE USA TODAY Alex Schmid, Director of a think tank in Switzerland, together with his colleague, A. J. Longman study terrorism around the world. They have listed 38 terrorist organizations in the USA today.
Right Wing Terrorist Groups Listed:
**C.I.A. [works overseas for the most part]
**National Socialist White People's Party
In additions, Afro-American groups and
left-wing scholars allege that several City police departments in the USA have death
squads which assassinate Black Power leaders and eradicate drug dealers.
Left Wing Terrorist Groups Listed:
**May 19 Coalition [Alleged to receive help
**Revolutionary Affinity Group 6
**Revolutionary Group 7
**Revolutionary Communist Party
**Black Revolutionary Assault Team
**Revolutionary People's Communication Network
**Symbionese Liberation Army
**United Revolutionary Soldiers of the Council of Reciprocal Relief Alliance for Peace, Justice and Freedom Everywhere.
Active Left-Wing Underground Groups
Apart from the Earth First group, there are not many left wing groups policing and
punishing individuals and groups with whom they disagree. A radical environmental group,
Earth First police and punish timber companies and construction firms which, in their
terms, despoil the wilderness. Members of Earth First cut the tires of earthmoving
equipment; lumber trucks and company vehicles. They put sand and sugar in petrol tanks.
They drive spikes in trees where chain saws are likely to cut. They cut down billboards
and remove other roadside debris.
Active Right Wing Organizations. Much of the political action of underground organizations which violate the laws and constitutional guarantees in the USA are racist Right-wing groups (Green, 1985). Active membership of such Right wing groups number between 20,000 and 50,000 members. There are additional millions of supporters who agree with their ideology of white supremist institutions but do nothing overt until they too, reach break point in their personal lives.
A Gallup Poll conducted in 1979 shows that a much larger group of people support some of the goals of the Klan than actually belong to it. Fully 10% of those sampled indicated they were favorable to the Klan with 3% being highly favorable (Anti-Defamation League, 1982:24). If the group sampled is representative of America, generally, then something like 25 million people subscribe to white supremist views. This is an increase from 1965 when 6% were favorable and only 1% highly favorable.
Three such groups which are nationwide are the Ku Klux Klan which oppresses Afro-Americans, Jews, and most other minorities as well as non-Christian religions; the Nazi party which is anti-Jewish and maintains whites should rule America; and the Aryan Brotherhood which is located in many prisons and "protects white prisoners from black ones."
More regionally located groups include:
(1) the Aryan Nations Church which is
anti-Afro-American and anti-semitic. It trains white supremist groups.
(2) the Order which believes Jesus is a member of a Nordic tribe.
(3) the Restored Church of Jesus Christ Aryan Nation whose purpose is to eliminate Afro-American citizens.
(4) Posse Comitatus which is an anti-federal income tax organization and supports the overthrow of the government,
(5) Euro-American Alliance which "defends white extremists from the Jews,"
(6) the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord which maintains Jews are an anti-Christ race, and
(7) the Christian Defense League which advocates removal of Jews from public offices.
(8) the American Patriots. This group is a spin off of the Libertarian party which opposes government interference in the private sector. Parker Abell was the Libertarian candidate for Congress in the 23rd District of Texas in 1982. He is now the leader of the American Patriots.
Police found 'execution warrants' in the
automobile of Abell in May of 1988. The warrants were to be filled in with the names of
public officials to be killed. They read: the above named traitor is to be executed on
sight. Abell was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill Mayor Henry Cisneros of San Antonio
and Texas State Comptroller, Bob Bullock. He agreed to pay $5000.00 upon the death of
The KKK Betty Dobratz (Iowa State University) and Stephanie Shanks-Meile (Indiana University) studied the documents of the KKK. They report that fear of change, social tensions arising from economic prosperity, and unequal distribution of wealth are important causes of the intolerance.
The Klan began as an underground group resisting the British occupation of Ireland. As Irish migrants came to the South, they brought their institutions as well. After the Emancipation Declaration by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, former slaves began to take jobs, serve in political office and exercise other rights of citizens. The KKK was resurrected as a means to control Afro-Americans with beatings, torture and murder. With the withdrawal of Union troops from the South in 1877, former slave owners and small business people regained control of the state government and joined with the KKK to police and to penalize those who tried to act on their Constitutional rights in the South.
Dobratz and Shanks-Meile note that Klan chapters grew in the Northern cities as people feared the increasing Afro-American migration to the urban areas. Often it was the same people who had participated in Klan-like activities who also distrusted the growing feminist movement and were upset by perceived threats to the family and traditional values. The KKK lost favor during the Civil Rights activity in the 60s and 70s but as times got bad in the States, racism once again found fertile ground among those who believe, erroneously, that Afro-Americans...or Jews...or Chicanos...or Asians disemploy Anglos.
UNDERGROUND STRUCTURES OF THE DEMOCRATIC STATE The U.S. government has Some 22 secret police agencies which work inside the country. They include sections of the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the I.R.S., the Treasury Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and others. Even the Agriculture Department has a secret agency. The F.B.I. keeps a list of some 20,000 American 'subversives' who can be arrested quickly if the need arises. It is a violation of the Constitution of the United States of America to investigate without probable cause of illegal activity.
It is a violation of the Constitution to punish someone without due process. The F.B.I. has released names of activist citizens to employers; sent anonymous information to wives and friends; and planted false stories in newspapers to discredit political activists. In the 1960's the FBI established five illegal and unconstitutional programs designed to disrupt women's movements toward social justice, minority movements toward civil rights, citizen opposition to the war in Vietnam as well as socialist movements for social justice in the U.S. These five programs were called the Cointel programs [Counterintelligence].
Even though US citizens have a legal right to engage in peaceful assembly for grievance, the F.B.I. monitored these groups and acted to penalize their members without benefit of trial, jury of peers, the rules of evidence, a right to confront witnesses, a right to call witnesses, a right to legal counsel or other legal rights. Common practices of the F.B.I. denied citizens of property and freedom without a hearing as required by the U.S. Constitution.
Other secret police agencies of the federal government work without the same publicity given to the F.B.I. The agents of such government bureaus violate civil rights. The I.R.S. has been used many times by incumbent Presidents to punish 'enemies.'
In the 1980s, the F.B.I. ran many illegal operations against CISPES, the Committee in Solidarity with El Salvador. CISPIS opposed support of the right wing parties and their death squads in El Salvador. The F.B.I. gathered 17 volumes of evidence on CISPES but not one person has been indicted by them. The F.B.I. does not like to lose cases in court.
Watergate Watergate was an extensive underground policing system put into place by the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP). the Committee to Reelect the President worked out of the office of Attorney General John Mitchell who was, also, chair of the committee to reelect President Nixon. The Committee to Reelect the President put together teams to look into the lives of democratic candidates for office and to discredit them. One team was assigned to break into the office of Larry O'Brien, the Chair of the Democratic National Committee which had its offices in Watergate, an apartment-office complex in Washington, D. C. That team was caught and the whole scheme was unraveled...but not before Nixon was reelected.
Among their activities were false news releases, fake letters, setups with prostitutes, phony calls to cancel democratic rallies, and many other 'dirty tricks.' The Nixon teams collected evidence in secret, faked evidence, brought the democrats to trial before the American public, and punished them for crimes never committed.
Members of this group were part of a much larger and much older secret governing apparatus which survived through several administrations. According to the Christic Institute, a Jesuit group based in Washington, D.C., this secret group, called the Enterprize, began sometime in the 1950s.
The Enterprize The National Security Agency, NSA, and members of the Reagan White House staff put together a secret intelligence army with its own planes, ships, troops, secret bank accounts and its own foreign policy. This deep secret agency did not report to Congress. It engaged in military operations around the world (PBS: 17 Feb., 1989).
It was called The Enterprize and was under the direction of William Poindexter, the Director of the 'National Security Agency.' It is illegal for NSA to run military operations. Wm. Casey, Director of the C.I.A. cooperated with the illegal operation and gave it cover from members of Congress.
The Enterprize gave President Reagan his own secret army not accountable to either Congress or the people as the Constitution of the United States requires. At one time in the Reagan years, it was involved in secret, and illegal, wars in Cambodia, Chad, Afghanistan and Angola. It was involved in the invasion of Grenada. Only the U.S. Congress has Constitutional authority to declare war. President Reagan set himself up outside the Constitution.
The Enterprize solicited funds from other governments and wealthy citizens inside the USA. It gave the Contras illegal funding in order to circumvent the Congressional ban on arms support of the Contras. The Contras were set up by the CIA to destabilize the duly elected government of Nicaragua. In order to get money to pay for the soldiers of the Contras, General Secord, Colonel North and others secretly sold arms to Iran when USA law prohibited the sale of arms to 'terrorist' nations...especially Iran.
The Tower Commission report said the sale of arms to Iranian government by the Reagan Administration violated :
--The Arms Export Control Act,
which requires arms recipients to certify they won't resell the weapons to others.
--The Foreign Assistance Act,
under which the president must make a formal finding of national security interest before the C.I.A. acted.
--The National Security Act,
which requires timely notice to Congress of covert actions.
The Tower Commission was criticized for not
looking into other allegations about The Enterprize including stories that it was
running narcotics to the USA to pay for its secret wars. Jules Lobel, a law professor at
the University of Pittsburgh said that "...the real problem is that the whole policy
was formulated on the basis that the law was irrelevant." (Tony Mauro, USA Today,
Over 70 million dollars were gathered in the Irangate episode. Some of the money came from selling arms to Iran. Some of the money came from Saudi Arabia, a feudal monarchy. Some of the money came from Brunei, an oil rich enclave in Southeast Asia. Some of the money came from right-wing groups and individuals in the U.S.A.
Oliver North, a marine colonel, ran the Enterprize out of the White House basement. Richard Secord was also involved. Secord, an Air Force general was forced to retire by allegations of corrupt practices when he was involved in a scheme to sell Pentagon weapons to Egypt and pocket the proceeds. Secord, in turn, enlisted the aid of a group of present and former CIA employees whose record of secret military activity goes back to 1959 and a plot to invade Cuba.
The Group of Four North, Clines, Shackley, Singlaub and other active and retired military and CIA officers make up a secret team of four conducting covert operations. In a Report from the Christic Institute, a Jesuit research organization in Washington, D.C., the team of four are accused of organizing an illegal invasion of Cuba; an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro; helping to overthrow the elected government of Salvador Allende of Chile and replace it with a brutal military government; directed operation Phoenix in Laos that killed some 60,000 Vietnamese civilians; and helped the Shah of Iran develop his secret police. They are reported to have offered Nicaraguan dictator, Anastacio Somoza help to kill off his opposition in Nicaragua.
After Somoza fell from power, the secret team went to help organize the remnants of the National Guard in Honduras who fled from Nicaragua in a war against the new Nicaraguan government. Only the Congress of the United States has the legal authority to declare war. The President does not. The CIA does not. The National Security Agency does not. Yet President Reagan and later, President Bush engineered a series illegal wars. Congress had not declared war on Cuba, Chile, Afghanistan, Angola, Chad, Grenada or Nicaragua. Yet agencies of the American government mounted wars against them in order to overthrow governments with which the United States is not at war. Some became public after the first assault and received much popular support but law is not made by popular fiat in a constitutional state with a legislature.
BLACK-LISTING AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR UNDERGROUND Just as private citizen groups take police powers and juridical powers and punitive powers in their own hands, business interests do too. The private corporation also engages in illegal policing and punishing of competitors and employees.
In many industries, owners and managers keep blacklists of people whose politics or private life is offensive to the established life style. Hollywood producers kept a list of writers, actors and producers who were communists or socialists. These people were tried and punished for doing what was perfectly legal and Constitutional...criticizing capitalism and elitist politics. Woody Allen produced and played in a movie entitled, The Front which gave a fairly good account of that period.
Baseball team owners agreed among themselves not to offer free agents salaries higher than the present owner paid. The accounting firm, Glassman-Oliver, stated in its report that the owners had lowered salaries by 20 million in 1986 and 50 million dollars in 1987...give or take 10 millions.
Fred Friendly, professor of Broadcast Journalism at Columbia university and former president of CBS news tells how CBS responded to the pressure of the tobacco industry and the aluminum industry when See It Now broadcast reports were critical of them. See It Now was taken off the air by CBS. It ran a series of news stories now regarded as classics in television reportage. Right wingers thought statehood for Hawaii was a communist plot and were outraged when Edward R. Murrow did a story supporting it on See It Now. An interview by Murrow of J. Robert Oppenheimer was condemned as support for communism by members of Congress and in the media. Harvest of Shame was about hunger in America. It was condemned by the Right wing. Other stories were simply repressed by CBS who anticipated loss of sponsors.
In every small business in America; in every major corporation, a small and secret set of managers sit in judgment of workers and others. They, separately, convict and punish those who interfere with the company goals...or those whose life style is offensive to them...or those whose politics are opposed to private enterprize.
THEORY OF UNDERGROUND STRUCTURES Sometimes hard pressed working class Anglos turn to pretheoretical rebellion and resistance. They join or support underground policing structures. Most explanations of those who join underground structures use badness or madness with which to understand involvement in underground structures. People who start or join underground political, religious, sexual, economic, or educational structures are said to be sick, badly adjusted, malcontents, trouble makers, perverts or victims of outside agitators.
The better theoretical position is that underground structures are generated by structural conflict between one group and other groups. The partisans of right wing underground groups are in conflict with Afro-Americans, women, and children over jobs and other scarce resources during economic hard times.
To blame structural problems on another group is an old, old solution and has much moral power behind it. It is called scapegoating. Scapegoating is based upon folk theories of cultural superiority...ethnocentricism. All societies teach their children that theirs is the best culture in all the world...that their social institutions are designed by God or by social evolution and thus are the best. These false understandings justify exclusion of one group by another from the forms of power...and has an ancient history.
Propositions The Underground structures of the Democratic state fall into two general categories: those on the Right and those on the Left. In many ways, they are similar; in some ways quite different. Note that the propositions below are similar except for the first one which determines the content of the politics of underground groups: conservative or progressive.
Of the Right Conflict and loss of power advantages; joined by false consciousness about the sources of social problems and solutions promote Right Wing political crime.
When democratic institutions arrive in a
society, the beneficiaries of privilege must go underground to protect privilege.
When an elite has direct or indirect control
of state power, it need not go underground to control the oppressed...the iron fist of the
state is very visible. Experience in 3rd world dictatorships, South Africa, Israel, as
well as in bureaucratic socialist nations demonstrate the point.
Inability of the state to ensure class privilege, racial preference, gender domination and ethnic advantage to privileged groups gives rise to underground policing structures on the Right.
There are four general laws of Rightist Underground Structures:
1. Underground structures on the Right
A. A portion of a population of a society has lost its former privileges
and when B. They lose power advantages: physical, economic, social and moral.
and when C. They are prevented from building parallel structures by economic or political conditions.
And when D. They are prevented from migrating by economic or political conditions.
When these conditions obtain, members of the
group must go underground or accept the conditions of equality.
Left Wing Underground Structures Underground groups on the Left arise when groups are systematically excluded from the political process by which change and renewal can occur. There are, again, four general laws of left oriented Underground Structures:
1. Underground structures on the Left
A. A portion of a population of a society is exploited
and when B. They are excluded from the public policy process
and when C. They are prevented from building parallel structures by economic or political conditions.
And when D. They are prevented from migrating by economic or political conditions.
When these conditions obtain, members of
oppressed groups must go underground or accept the conditions imposed by the dominant
There is a fifth aspect of underground structures which helps one understand the use of violence. Most generally, oppressed peoples on both the Right and the Left live in peace as long as they are permitted to have their own separate cultural practices or when they can depart for more congenial places. When state power is used against them, they have to give up their beliefs or defend them.
E. Underground groups use violence when
the power of the state is deployed to eliminate them.
As with all 'laws' of social life, these
statements describe general tendencies. What actually happens is conditioned by a whole
host of factors including the quality of leadership, the balance of physical force,
unusual incidents, and the validity of the understandings majority and minority have about
the sources of conflict.
Under such conflict conditions, underground political, religious, economic, educational, sexual, and or communication structures develop. It is not faulty socialization, bad genes, low intelligence, race, or climate which produce underground structures of the sort involved in political crime but rather poorly designed social institutions which defeat the human process.
When established institutions fail the
human project, people build alternative institutions.
Many of the underground structures are ugly,
self-defeating, and misdirected. In order to develop better institutions; those congenial
to the human potential in all members of society, they must be based upon Human Rights and
Human Obligations; they must be a product of wisdom and judgement in the service of
CHAOS THEORY AND SOCIAL CONTROL THEORY Chaos theory carries many implications for strategies of social control. I will summarize the more obvious but first one should consider the prior question about the necessity of social control. Here I take the position that the human condition requires a dialectic between freedom and necessity which very much resembles a mandelbrot fractal. In such a dialectic there is constraint fitted together with freedom. In fact the definition of the algorithm which generates a wide variety of fractals is one in which one complex number is held constant while another is allowed to roam freely over the space available.
Foundational Ideas in Nonlinear Control Theory.
I. Most natural and social dynamics are nonlinear.
A. Small changes can produce large,
untrackable changes in the dynamics of natural and social systems.
B. Large changes in key parameters can be absorbed by a nonlinear system. This ability to absorb change depends upon proximity to the feigenbaum points mentioned below.
C. Iterations of nonlinear systems produce fractal structures in which no given iteration ever repeats itself precisely. Similarity replaces sameness in the Chaos paradigm.
Out of this set of ideas come the lesson
that neither conformity to a given pattern nor modernist ideas perfection are possible.
This point does not translate to a laissez faire politics nor does it support the politics
of nihilism. What is implied is that if we want to set policy in economics, politics,
health care, transportation or some other desired cultural activity, we must be prepared
to accept variations around a theme.
II. Interactions of key parameters produce varied outcome states called attractors.
A. The degree of chaos of each attractor
depends sensitively upon initial conditions. See above.
B. There are five generic attractor states; three of which are fractal: 1) Point, 2) Limit, 3) a Butterfly with a 2n outcome basin, 4) more complex attractors with 4n, 8n, and 16n basins and 5) full chaos.
C. Nonlinearity increases as system dynamics move from one attractor state to a more complex.
D. There is a precise point at which transitions from one state to another occurs. These are marked by the 'Feigenbaum' numbers.
There is, embedded in this set of
foundational ideas, a most profound lesson for social control theory. If we want to limit
human behavior to a given attractor or to some limited set of attractors, then we must
look to the key parameters. It is no good telling people to behave one way if critical
variables make it difficult to comply. If we want good health, we must consider control of
the parameters which produce ill health. It is no good telling people to see their doctors
regularly if they live amid poverty, pollution or live in a society which promotes the use
of tobacco, alcohol or violence.
III. Attractors have a fractal geometry (rather than euclidean).
A. The geometry of a dynamical system varies
with scale of observation.
B. Any given region at any given scale of observation is similar to an adjacent region or the larger region of which it is a part, but it is never identical.
C. One speaks of degrees of reality rather than euclidean states of objectivity (there/not there; dense lines, unbroken planes, or solid objects).
D. Both Order and Disorder are found together in every region and at every scale in fractal structures.
E. The amount/ratio of order to disorder depends upon which portion of an outcome basin one samples; precision and replicability are a function of sampling decisions.
The geometry of a fractal offers a
postmodern model for the geometry of law, religion and morality. Rather than the thin and
inflexible rationality of law and order as we find it in legal theory today, Chaos theory
suggests a much more open and nonlinear theory of law.
This does not sit well with those of us who, as have I, come of age in an era in which equal standing before the law, equal penalty for the same crime or equal responsibility to the law of the land was deemed right and proper. My idea of justice is informed by newtonian/euclidean ideas. But Chaos theory teaches us that we must invent another theory of justice if we are to fit ourselves within the larger nonlinearity we find in the natural and social world.
IV. Multiple systems with fractal geometries can occupy the same region in either real time/space or phase space. If they maintain their boundaries, they are called Solitons.
The idea that diverse cultures with diverse norms could live in the time space continua is very strange to those of us who think that all Americans should be governed by the same laws and all should comply to the same normative structure. America Indians, Foreign nationals, second generation immigrant children and travelers through the country need not, cannot be expected to comply to standard American behavioral norms. Chaos theory tells us that such diversity is, in fact, technically possible. The operative question then becomes how to implement such policy. It takes someone wiser and brighter than I to answer such a question.
V. Chaotic systems such as solitons maintain their integrity through nonlinear feed back loops.
The operative point here is that mercy is preferable to justice. By justice, I refer to a system of social control in which rule enforcement is informed by technical rationality. To suggest that irrationality is preferable to rationality in the adjudication of given cases before a competent judicial body goes against all that I have learned, and believed, in modern jurisprudence. Yet that is the implication I draw from this point.
If we want to maintain the coherence of a group within another group, we must be prepared to act in a way, which in modern logic, would be defined as irrational. But there is a larger, fractal rationality to be found in such a stance. If we want diversity in culture and there is much to be said for diversity, then we should consider the advantages of irregular rationality.
VI. Positive linear feedback loops tend to break up an attractor and, (after exhausting 3 dimensional space), tend to bifurcate. Negative linear feed back fails as key parameters pass feigenbaum points.
I have made the point in the text above and elsewhere. Positive feedback amplifies the variation between attractor states. If we want diversity on the one side and social justice on the other, then we must take care to limit the free expression of an economic or political system in which power amplifies into greater power inequalities or wealth reproduces itself into greater extremes between those who have and those who have not.
If, as Lord Acton said, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then the obverse of the statement is also true; powerlessness corrupts, absolute powerlessness is hostile to the human condition.
VII. The number of outcomes and size of a basin of outcomes for any given system increases as bifurcations in key parameters occur.
A. With each bifurcation, causal basins
double. Similarity is found within each different basin; uncertainty is found between
B. Generally, outcome basins have 2n, 4n, 8n, or 16n attractors (basins). Uncertainty increases qualitatively at each bifurcation.
Given a preference for order and a certain
wariness about nasty surprises, it follows that the number of outcome basins permitted in
a society should be limited. Given the point above that uncertainty increases
qualitatively at each bifurcation and given that far from stable dynamics are hostile to
social life, then a theory of social control must ask how many outcome basins are optimal
in each domain of life.
How many family forms; how many child rearing patterns; how many healing philosophies as well as how many economic systems are to be encouraged, enabled or avoided. That is the postmodern question. Far different from the premodern view that one and only one marriage state is tolerable; far different from the modern view that all societies tend toward the same advanced, industrialized, differentiated social form, far different from the usual theory of social control is that implied in Chaos theory. Monolithic models cannot be sustained; absolute control is impossible; sameness is anathema to nature and society. That leaves the question of how many attractors and how much uncertainty is needful to the human condition. It will take a lot of thought and research to sort that out but in the meantime, we can be a bit more tolerant of diversity than, perhaps we have in the past.
VIII Bifurcations occur at precise intervals as changes in key parameters reach any one of four feigenbaum points: 3.0; 3.4495; 3.56; 3.596.
A. Semi-Stable dynamics of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32
and 64 cycles are observed in Chaotic regimes. (Cycles of 1 are called steady state or
B. The value at which a key parameter becomes progressively and linearly smaller. The change in bifurcation points over the entire range of such points has been shown to be 4.6692016...this number is called Feigenbaum's constant (not to be confused with the feigenbaum points above. Glass and Mackey: 1988:33).
These points guide social policy in a
society. If there are attractor states we do not wish to record in the chronicle of human
life, then perhaps we should make sure that given parameters do not exceed the feigenbaum
point in question. In other work, I have made the point that, if we want women to stay in
school, then we must limit the uncertainties with which they must cope. If we wish to
avoid excessive alcohol dependency in a society, then perchance we must limit the kind of
stress which drives dependency.
If we do not like crime, then we must consider the parameters which drive people to crime. Unbridled desire for consumer goods driven by psychology in the service of advertizing may be one such parameter. Monopolies which drive up the costs, and profits, of essential goods, steel, grains, lumber, textiles, energy and such, tend to limit the market for other goods and services. Given the desire or the need for other goods, people have a way of inventing new ways to get them. Some of these new ways may be hostile to the human condition or hostile to other needful industries and services.
VIII Bifurcations cascade a system (or set of system) into full chaos after the 4th bifurcation. Uncertainty increases by orders of magnitude at that bifurcation. (Glass and Mackey, 1988: 32).
Implications for social control of this finding are clear: social control efforts are entirely worthless at this dynamical regime. Social control as it is understood in both traditional and modern terms is difficult even under the semi-stable regimes of the various discernible attractors. All the control technologies listed above including the new high tech control tactics used in the modern corporation do not answer to the human need for dependable response and for stable understandings. What is needed at this point is the institution of policy to which people are attracted (in the nontechnical sense) rather than that with which people are driven.
IX. New forms of order emerge out of fully chaotic fields.
A. Even in fully chaotic regimes, there are
regularities with which pockets of order appear (Glass and Mackey, 1988:32)
The generation of new forms of order is seen
at every bifurcation; indeed a bifurcation is a bifurcation because a system now has
another destiny to which it might go. When a tongue in a torus attractor is driven by a
key parameter past the first feigenbaum point, creation is imminent. When a 2n attractor
expands into a 4n attractor, two behaviors are seen. It is the apparent victory of
disorder which makes the discovery of new pockets of order in the most chaotic field seem
so remarkable. But the larger point is that the destiny of the universe is not the bland
soup of complete entropy. Rather there is a continual and infinitely variable dialectic
between order and disorder that runs through all forms of life and, indeed, all natural
forms. The apparent stability of the atom is discernible since and only since we chose to
study the atom at a scale at which structure appear firm. Much as we can take the notion
of an ocean be ignoring the constant flow of water molecules in and out of it, so too can
be take the notion of an atom or, for that matter, a society.
Social control theory thus needs to determine the level of concern; if we want a great literature, we need not worry about the precise usage of each word in a poem or story. If we want a good marriage, we need not concern ourselves about the rapid and ever changing flow of unit acts which make up the marriage as social structure. if, too, we want a good and decent society, we must concern ourselves with a set of key parameters which are loosely termed social justice parameters and then stand aside and deal with the occasional loose end. Overcontrol at the personal level does not ensure stability at the social level of system dynamics.
XI. Only Chaos can Cope with Chaos. If one wants a strategy with which to maximize proximity to a given attractor in a larger outcome field, one must adopt a chaotic strategy which is set by the dynamical key of that attractor (Hübler, 1992).
The implication of this point for a theory of social control is great indeed. Rather than more and more punishment as an answer to more and more crime, Chaos theory suggests that one identify the key parameters which drive a system; determine the dynamical key to that system and institute chaotic strategies which bring the society back to a semi-stable dynamics. Hübler, 1992, has reported on the process by which to do so. Others have offered explanations of why chaos is superior to linearity as a way to manage the natural chaos found in the environment of every child, worker, student, parent, citizen or customer.
Holden, (1986:10) suggests three advantages of nonlinear dynamics in a chaotic environment.
1. Chaotic diversity compensates for genetic
2. Chaotic behavior improves survival chances. It is difficult for a predator to track nonlinear behavior.
3. Chaos prevents entrainment. Entrainment would either amplify deviation (toward full chaos) or reduce variety (toward a steady state).
Bruce West adds that an irregular heartbeat
is better able to meet unpredictable needs for oxygen and energy than is a regular
heartbeat. (TWU lecture, 28 Feb. 1992).
Conclusion Institutions oriented to social control in the USA take an increasing share of the national income. Such institutions privilege linear dynamics and a specific set of outcomes to social interaction. Postmodern criminology and control theory rejects such a view of the natural and the necessary. Instead, of more and more control, a postmodern view of social control emphasizes social justice of the sort which prevents bifurcations in essential social supplies including wealth, status and social power.
Foundational ideas from chaos research carry several quite important implications for postmodern science generally, postmodern sociology in particular and postmodern politics more particularly. Most of these implications are dimly visible and scarcely researched. We stand now on the leading edge of social science at a point comparable to that of Francis Bacon who, in 1620, caught a glimpse of the possibilities of the new science of measurement and prediction---enough of a glimpse to write his book, De Novum Organum.
Whether we use this new body of knowledge to human purpose or to reinforce existing structures of power and privilege stands before us as the existential question of the 21st Century. It is possible to manage chaos. It is not possible to defeat variation, creativity and change. The task for emancipatory social science is to envelop these new findings in a set of Human Rights and Human Responsibilities which minimize the costs of social control and maximize quality of life for this and future generations. It is just the right time to begin.
I want to add a word of caution. This essay and the entire book is oriented to the uncertainties of modern life for some people; some businesses, some nations. In choosing this topic, I perforce ignore much of the progress in health, transport, communications, housing, food supply, democratic politics, and the knowledge process itself. I have a profound respect for those accomplishments. It is to that purpose I write. Return
Ashby died the same year as did Bing Crosby. Crosby's death got international media attention; Ashby's death went unnoticed by all except those who are interested in control theory. Return
Second order uncertainties arise when competitors move into a line formerly dominated by American industry; automobiles, television and electronics, shoes and textiles, iron and steel are ready examples. Third order transformations are those in which modes of production are changed. In the former USSR, third order transformations echo through the economies of Germany and the East European community. Some of this is the topic of another essay in this series. Return