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Douglas Rushkoff Deconstructs the Digital Economy

April 14, 2016

New Yorker writer who used to come to San Francisco for respite from the Wall Street rat race comments on how tech has sucked the soul out of San Francisco.

Douglas Rushkoof : 92Y (video)

In my early writing days I would go to SF to find out what’s happening next and get this sort of spiritual, deeply humanistic recharge and then come to New York and argue why all these great things are going to happen and how human potential is gonna… and I would be arguing against publishers who would just laugh me out of the room.

I remember my first book on San Francisco internet culture, it got canceled in 1992 because the publisher thought the internet would be over by 1993 when the book would come out. And they saw those crazy San Francisco people and their peace and love stuff.

And I was out there for a week, and there was really not a vestige of that sensibility. If anything it felt to me, this New Yorker was going to San Francisco to remind them of the humanity underneath these technologies and the possibility for peer to peer interaction and all that. And it is strange.

And now I come back to New York and you would think, oh here it’s this New York thing and we are in the Bloomberg Bubble and all, and… it’s very relaxing for me. It’s a strange sort of homecoming. And you would think, this is Wall Street, that this would be the more severe place. And it’s actually the opposite. And I don’t know quite how I’m going to deal with that.

I guess I should be glad I didn’t move out. I stayed and you know if you wait long enough, you end up in the human place…

What’s going on there, it’s in the title of the book. it was really crystallized by my twitter stream when I saw that people were laying in front of the buses that Google was using to transport its workers from San Francisco to the Google place down in Mountain View…




3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2016 1:58 am

    Comments by a reader

    Very interesting. Thanks for sending.

    Halfway through it, a few comments:
    *He summarizes corporation, stock market, etc. very well.
    Has a great sense of history as it all relates.

    *It seems human nature allows easy corruption of people by money and power.
    Human nature appears to want to perpetually expand, build empire, conquer, take over others.
    Every life form, it seems does this.
    I believe, we people, unique in our nature, can practice forbearance.

    It seems to me the fundamental reason for government (organized force) is to provide a fair system of checking negative and/or destructive aspects of human nature, in this case business activity. The basis of that government being equal justice and equal protection under rule of law.

    Appropriate use of government force to control the creation of monopoly and direct human efforts for the good of humanity seems like a worthy role.
    Free enterprise with government checks through law on those who get too big and abuse their place seems the best use of government.
    We seem to have forgotten this. Government might best act to impose the forbearance we are not able to impose upon ourselves.

    The Walmart example he gave was very interesting as the model seems to be self defeating due to lack of forbearance.
    I think self control, as one of many people, and as organizations of people, is key to “sustainable” success.
    Were our government operating correctly, I think Walmart would not have the advantage they have in rural towns and local business would be able to make claims of unfair encroachment (anti-competitive activity). Walmart comes to town to conquer…the plunder is exhausted and they have to move on.

    Perhaps their is a different model?

    At 49:00; I wonder if he understands that the current central bank is set up for private, not public benefit?

    We used to have a US treasury that printed money and provided it to the public without interest.
    Now the treasury prints money for the federal reserve and the federal reserve issues that money with interest.

    Money used to be both form and substance. It seems now it is just form and substance is gone.
    It isn’t constitutional for Congress to have delegated issue of our currency to a set of private bankers.

    At 57:00 Bank of America is tearing down houses foreclosed on? Exacerbating the housing crisis?
    It seems it’s all about the banks.


  2. April 14, 2016 2:00 am

    Thanks for your comments. There is a lot here to think about.



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