A brief note on the disposability ideology

Consider three areas in which America is uniquely bad:

Criminal justice

*America imprisons more than twice as many people per capita as its nearest developed competitor, Israel.

*The US imprisons children at a rate of 60 per 100,000, 11x higher than the western Europe and the highest in the world.


*The US is the only developed country in the world where people often die because they don’t have enough money for medical treatment.

Workplace relations

*No other developed country has at-will employment.

There is an underlying ideology that unites these- an ideology of disposability. If people do the wrong thing or don’t produce enough value, it’s alright to get rid of them and it’s not required to try other things first. While the disposability ideology it isn’t unique to America, it takes its most perfect form here. The areas we’ve listed mark the biggest departures of US domestic policy from other nations. Thus, we could call US capitalism “disposability capitalism”. All capitalism treats people as disposable, but the United States has perfected it. Economic security, liberty and life itself can be discarded when they are inconvenient.

Even Americans who affirm that people are not disposable will make exceptions in practice. For example, murderers, rapists, violent people, and people they disagree with politically. The left may be less vulnerable to disposability thinking, but they are not immune. None of this is to deny legitimate communal-defence, but everyone seems quick to draw that blade.

The reply to the disposability ideology is often to argue that this or that person or group didn’t deserve to get junked. It is true that people’s sins are often less than claimed, but it is not enough to say this. It might sound trite, but we should affirm that everyone deserves certain things through their bare existence.

One thought on “A brief note on the disposability ideology

  1. The question is whether people can lose those rights through their actions.

    A serial murderer seems like a good candidate to be disposed of .


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