The history of industrial capitalism and its modes of domination is intimately linked to that of violent entrepreneurs deploying their coercive resources at the service of workplace discipline, the extraction of surplus value and the securitization of the accumulation cycle. The relationship between capital and coercion is always fraught with tensions, though, and sustains new vulnerabilities among security-consuming elites. The manufacturing economy of Karachi is a particularly fertile ground for studying this endogenous production of insecurity by security devices. The relations between Karachi’s factory owners and their guards have generated their own economy of suspicion. Various attempts to conjure this shaky domination have generated new uncertainties, calling for new methods of control to keep the guards themselves under watch.
Hukou is a system for registering and controlling the population set up under Mao to promote the socialist development program. It has created a lasting division between urban and rural areas and has given rise to differences in status that violate the Chinese constitution, which stipulates that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law. Maintaining the hukou system and cleverly adapting this communist institution in answer to the country’s social and economic changes largely explains how the CCP remains in power. Hukou helps manage development by controlling urban expansion and favoring rapid industrialization at a lesser cost to the state. Despite accelerated reforms to the system in recent years, it has perpetuated inequality among citizens. Hukou thus remains a tool of the party’s divide-and-rule strategy. The reforms, which promote greater social mobility and help ensure that elites remain behind the central power, also curb social unrest, although in a context in which hukou has never been so criticized. The system thus remains the bedrock of an authoritarian regime, serving its two priorities: maintaining social stability and high growth rate.