Those voluntarily entering the pauper-Panopticon, were given room and board, as well as a small stipend, in exchange for their labors. It was intended to house not only individuals but also entire families. In fact, the whole scheme depended on a large supply of children and, hence, child labor (see Figure 22).
For the pauper-Panopticon to be economically feasible, it would need to satisfy a number of important requirements. For instance, it had to be big, big enough to maintain a safe and healthy environment for, “massive numbers of people.” In addition, there would have to be a lot of them. “Bentham’s initial designs were meant to ‘accommodate nationally a maximum of 500,000 persons’.”
It would also need to be profitable financially, and eventually, self-sustaining. The efficient use and supervision of labor, including that of the children and the elderly, and the scrupulous management of costs, would eventually lead to a net profit. The numerous benefits that society would receive from the pauper-Panopticons erected throughout England and Wales would be immense. These included a “[guarantee] against any increases in…[taxes from the Poor Laws]”. And over time, as the “industry houses” became profitable, taxes for poor relief would eventually begin to decrease.
In addition, all residents would learn a trade that would eventually empower them to enter the workforce and become self-sustaining. Thus, the pauper-Panopticon or “industry house” would become, in effect, an employment engine for society: turning idleness and indigence into a profitable workforce.
Bentham’s final panoptic design, the “chrestomathic-Panopticon,” was in many ways a return to his brother’s original scheme. According to Brunon-Ernst, it was intended as a, “day-school where one inspecting master could supervise more than 600 pupils” (23, see Figure 23). Like Samuel’s workhouse model, its panoptic discipline functioned both as a protection for its wards against mistreatment from others, and to ensure responsive and efficient training and instruction.
“This is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with Battlefield 4 and ‘video gaming in the 21st century?’”
My sentiments exactly, “what does Bentham’s Panopticon have to do with Battlefield 4 and video gaming in the 21st century?” (see Figure 24)
The short answer is: everything. As the rest of this essay will demonstrate, the disciplinary and technological structure of Battlefield 4, as an online multiplayer environment, uses a “panoptic paradigm” to manage its players and keep them playing. Their implementation is simultaneously the most comprehensive fulfillment of all and none of Bentham’s ‘Panoptical’ iterations ever achieved.