John D Radcliff, Specializing in Interactive Technology & Education!

How state governing bodies police people using a car

        The panopticon controls what we do in the form of parking permits, tolltags, road signs, etc.  Why do we obey and how does this influence us?  An example of this is how the apartment complex my girlfriend and myself are living at now require parking permits with no reason behind why this is necessary except that if the sticker is not applied to the window of our cars, they will be towed.  So of course we obey, fill out the paper work and apply the sticker's to our car windows so that they will not be towed.  I question this as far as will this be inforced or is this just a sticker trying to police people illegally parking in our apartment complex?  It is the fear of someone watching the parking lot and towing people who do not have parking stickers. 


        Does this exist in reality or is it just an example of the panopticon philosphy at work?  I think it is a way of controlling people who illegally park in a certain place and whether or not this new rule will be controlled or monitored is questionable.  The same exists at colleges with tickets being issued if parking tags are not on vehicles.  Another example is RFID enabled devices, like tolltags, which charge people's cars based on what toll booths they pass through.  Accounts that are expired, overdrawn, or cars with no tags, are either mailed or e-mailed an invoice and charged for their usage.  When cars are towed or fines are issued, then we can see the reality of not obeying the laws of the state governing body and the penality for not doing so. 

        “The division of labour inside a nation leads at first to the separation of industrial and commercial from agricultural labour, and hence to the separation of town and country and to the conflict of their interests (Marx/Engels Internet Archive, Chapter I: A Critique of The German Ideology).”  Each state body or government entity has different functions to perform and rules/regulations which govern each state body differently.  Each body must learn how to interact with each other and each body interacts with each other based on their own interests. 

        Just as an apartment complex, toll tag authority, or a college informs people that their car will be towed or a fine assessed based on not having a parking sticker is a way in which separation of state governing powers exist.  Each governing body is enforcing their authoritative powers from different governing bodies (local, state, federal, etc.).  From Marx's quote, we can see that governing bodies have different interests from the town (local government) and country (federal government).  Using parking or driving on certain roads as an example, we see that even though different governing bodies are operating on different levels they still are enforcing the same thing which is governing transient vehicles. 

        The thing Marx did not see was how even though conflict of interests arise between state governing bodies, there is a common ground that can be reached between these governing states. 
The U.S. constitution addressed this issue with Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 which states "[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; ".  This is an example of how the U.S. established acts of commerce between governing states which was applied from the federal, to the state, and down to local governing bodies.  This applies to the way people are charged for toll road or parking tag charges and establishes a common agreement which disolves self interests of state governing bodies. 


        We can find the same principles used in road signs which inform and direct ways in which people drive on roads.  If there is a detour sign, then people are given a choice of either using the detour route or another route.  The same thing applies to signs that state "speed zone" or "radar enforced by aircraft"

Speed limit enforced by aircraft

which gives drivers an impression that they are being watched and that they had better obey the speed limit.  Once again this is the imaginary or real big brother watching people and having people feel guilty or pay the consequences if they do not obey certain signs on the road. 

        So the question is since the roadways or parking lots are subject to being policed by certain visual signs and regulations, do we have a say in this or are we constantly looking out for the next visual object that will direct us on how to drive or park?  It is hard to say since Marx's philosphy on governing state bodies is that the state is looking out for the welfare of the people.  This is true until the governing state body exercises too much control or power over the people.  A balance between more or less government or state control is constantly in flux and always changing.  As long as the decisions made are for the greater good of the people and changes can be made to the way people are governed, then this creates a fair and balanced society.


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