“Fear entrepreneurs”

“Fear entrepreneurs” is a term very well coined by Furedi to denote social forces that utilise or manipulate and exploit fear to create anxiety and gain some benefit. Extending his notion we can say that, in a similar fashion as the established religions and churches sometimes spread fears from the condemnation to the Hell and divine punishment aiming to congregate its followers, sometimes, in the past, selling them absolutions from some of their sins, or to collect donations and taxes from them, so also do the modern states and the commercial insurance companies.

They both have vested interest in spreading fear from as large spectrum of risks and contingencies as possible, ranging from accidents, home-borne, intra-national and international risks, malicious deeds to global natural disasters.

One of the aims is to create a mixture of state and commercial markets for as full set of unfavourable contingencies as possible and to encourage audience to take up protections policies with both, tax seeking and collecting states and, as well, the commercial financial institutions such as insurance, “future contingencies protection” and pension investments products and packages selling companies.

However, on the other hand, with the increasingly liberal political-economic policies applied to the governments in some of the modern states, less and less of those protection related responsibilities are expected from the sovereign states themselves and the varieties of protections are increasingly provided by commercial and private institutions where financial investment and insurance institutions provide necessary financial mechanisms. Such trend is seemingly aiming to gradual reduction of sovereign states’ responsibilities down to only those two or three basic ones listed by Adam Smith.

In short, one could say that it appears as if the sovereign states, effectively, their citizens’ risk protecting, and sometimes also risk insuring institutions, are gradually being pushed out, loosing their shares on the markets for insurances and contingencies to the commercial ones.

One then may wander if an additional, though probably unintentional, effect of such geopolitical series may thus be to also remind the audience of the related risks and fears that they as citizens may face and that their sovereign state itself has more roles other than providing for social security, policing and health protection, and that it consequently, has the legitimacy in claiming taxes for provision of other public goods and services that are, at least for now, still beyond the fully privatised sector.

[1] Frank Furedi: The only thing we have to fear is the ‘culture of fear’ itself.
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