Undoubtedly, fear guides many behaviours, actions and decisions, and those who manipulate it are well aware of this. Fear can be expressed in many ways, via anxiety, stress, shock, phobia, and in extreme cases, panic. Fear warns us, warns us of impending danger, or what we visualise as such. It is a defence mechanism. Those who are not afraid do not visualise dangers, they are the reckless ones, those who do not know what awaits them. Is it possible not to be afraid?

Fear is consubstantial to human nature and those who exercise power or aspire to power know it well, stimulating and encouraging fear. In companies, those in power will want to facilitate the dismissal of workers who weaken them. For their part, the latter will try to have contracts that assure them peace of mind and not to live in fear of losing the job with which they earn their daily bread.

There is no doubt that we live in fearful times, we have always lived in fearful times. The contest is unequal. The labour factor is subordinate to the capital factor. Trade unions, whose raison d’être is the defence of workers, are suffering for their absence, for their loss of power. The times of the big trade unions have been left behind by the jibarisation, outsourcing and subcontracting of companies. Today each worker must defend himself with his own fingernails, negotiating individually. The least qualified are left defenceless, forced to accept the conditions imposed on them. The fear of losing their jobs haunts them. The most qualified, depending on their speciality and the market, are the ones who will have the upper hand, imposing conditions through the power of their knowledge. In these cases, it is the employers who will be overcome by the fear of losing valuable human resources.

The capital factor also suffers. Entrepreneurs are harboured by fear of market uncertainty, customer vagaries, the socio-political climate, competition, technological innovation. We all end up being afraid, a natural fear, the product of an uncertain future, which we do not control. We seek certainties to lessen our fears.

This can be extrapolated to the political and social life of nations. In the case of Chile, we have long been living in times of fear, which affects, as if it were a pendulum, primarily some or others, and in extreme cases, everyone. It is inevitable that in any society, some do well and others do badly, that there are winners and losers, but what is avoidable is that there are few big winners and many big losers. When this happens, there is fear on both sides. Among the losers, there is anger, unease and a sense of injustice; among the winners, the fear of losing the winning position they have won. Among the latter, they will argue that they deserve it because it is the fruit of their efforts, forgetting that many of the losers make a great deal of effort without being able to abandon their status as such, just as among the winners, many are winners thanks to ill-gotten gains or opportunities that others did not have.

In short, just as fear has its positive side, it also has its negative side, since it paralyses, obscures and hinders reasoning. Consequently, managing, regulating and controlling fear is the challenge when acting and deciding in the most diverse instances.