The New York Times reports that the Pinkerton Detective Agency has evolved to respond to the climate crisis. Popularly known as the Pinkertons, the company is best known as the strikebreakers that provoked violence at the Homestead Strike. While it is widely thought that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, the Pinkertons employ legitimized violence on behalf of the powerful and the wealthy.
As Deadwood’s Al Swearengen said, the Pinkertons are “muscle for the bosses.”
In their new guise, the Pinkertons have triangulated violence with the climate crisis and data-driven AI. They perceive a future of increased social disruption due to disasters driven by climate change. Their job will be to protect the resources of the wealthy from the desperate masses that find themselves without food or water or shelter.
The Pinkertons are not the only security company looking to profit from increased desperation and social breakdown. The article notes, “The best outcome for these new data-driven Pinkertons is that this century lapses into the kind of lawlessness and disorder that makes it look more like the 19th.”
Must of the protection described in the article is not of clients’ basic needs. They protect supply lines to ensure corporate profits. If those profits conflict with the basic needs of society, the Pinkertons will be there to secure the former over the latter.
Social disruption due to climate change is here and will almost certainly grow worse. But the solution is not for the wealthy to adopt a bunker mentality hoarding resources and arming themselves to secure their bounty. The solution is mutual aid, sacrificing profits to ensure that everyone has everything they needs.