I wonder if anybody could help me to understand the last line of the poem “Managed Diversity”, written by Daniel Borzutzky:

The global economy brightens my room with the surveillance of my rotten assets

The focus here is on the motive or the circumstance?

Motive = The surveillance is the reason WHY the poetic persona’s room gets bright(er).

Circumstance = The global economy brightens my room WHEN it surveils my rotten asset.

  • Could you add the one or two preceding sentences? The context might help.
    – Daniel
    May 2, 2020 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


Predictive analytics refers to a variety of statistical techniques that can be used to make predictions about things that are as diverse as business assets and ... refugees, two types of "assets" that are contrasted in Borzutzky's poem.

The global economy, or at least the "digital economy" has increasingly come to rely on statistical techniques and the harvesting of data from internet users ("surveillance" in the poem's last line) to increase its profits. From this point of view, everyone sitting in a room using the internet as an "asset" through the data that can be collected about them. This type of economy literally keeps the lights on for part of the population.

However, many online services that we use are made available free of charge because we "pay" for them with the data we provide on websites. From this point of view, these services can continue to appear on our computer or smartphone screens, which also brighten our rooms.

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