The profits of fear

According to new market research by ABI, summarised by Business Wire, video surveillance remains a growth industry despite the recession, posting 10% growth figures recently. The report also claims that the overall size of the video surveillance industry (which of course it just a portion of the overall security and surveillance sector) will increase to $41 Billion US by 2014 (assuming there is the predicted global economic recovery, of course).

As I have written before, there are two somewhat contradictory trends for this sector in the current recession . The first is the insecurity that results from economic crisis, which coupled with actual rises in crime that also tend to follow, leads to increased investment in security and surveillance. This would tend to suggest a growing market in hard times. However, the other is the increasing mismatch between high security and trade flows. Increased security and surveillance imposes costs on those trying to move and sell goods and services, and this is particularly true of cross-border trade in a time of paranoia about controlling flows of risky people. This could result in a free trade versus security stand-off that might lead to a declining security market. Of course, breaking down the differences further, high tech surveillance is often used in place of physical security and is frequently seen as a substitute for it, so a reaction against higher security might actually lead to more surveillance… either way, the surveillance technology suppliers win.

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

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