TagDouglas Rushkoff

Douglas Rushkoff: Program or Be Programmed

Douglas Rushkoff on Richard Metzger’s Dangerous Minds

Turns out there’s already another Dangerous Minds episode. This one features Douglas Rushkoff and covers some familiar terroritory for readers of Rushkoff’s columns (which I link to frequently).

I agree with quite a lot of what Rushkoff has to say, and I respect him a lot. But there are a few important things he gets wrong or doesn’t account for.

There’s a contradiction in his assertion that the government/corporate complex will be too broke to enforce monopolies – but he also mentions, when questioned about US foreign debt, that we still have the strongest military. And that’s the thing. Entrenched powers aren’t going to roll over and die as long as they’ve got the bomb and the gun.

Alternative currencies are great. But governments tend squash them as soon as they start disrupting the status quo. See The New Currency War and George Monbiot’s history of alternative currency. There’s a really question of how much the “powers that be” will let “us” get away with – in terms of growing our own food, creating our own currency, and anything else that reduces their power over us.

Much of Rushkoff’s optimism stems from romanticizing a future where Americans break free from our cubicles and start actually “doing stuff.” I’ve noticed a tendency for a lot of people to think that jobs need to be more like what they think their ideal job should be like. Some people say “people need to be out doors” or “people need to work with their hands” or “people need more creative jobs.” They miss the fact that a lot of people genuinely like working with numbers, or programing computers, or doing detailing oriented office work.

Anyway, the millions of people who work in (or have recently worked in) the health care, education, restaurant, hotel, farming, gardening, manufacturing, trucking, rail road, utility, and construction industries may be surprised to hear that all the economy needs is for Americans just need to get off their fat cubicle dwelling asses and “do something.” What percentage of the population is actually employed in just pushing numbers around and managing outsourced labor?

I’m fairly confused on this point because Rushkoff also talks about how the financial industry is essentially extracting value from the rest of us. So are we producing value or not?

Rushkoff is correct in tracing the modern collusion of government and corporations back to the very beginnings of corporations, but he falls into a certain trap that libertarians tend to fall into: the idea that getting rid of the government influence would solve the problem of megacorporations (or other large institutions) would stop their meddling in the market and lead to a laissez faire utopia.

The problem is that the government is not the only way large institutions (be they for-profit corporations, religious institutions, unions, professional organizations, or non-profit organizations) manipulate the market. We could try splitting up megacorproations – but that requires government intervention and gets sticky quick (for all the reasons that libertarians warn against government intervention).

The typical libertarian assumption, as I understand it, is that without government intervention the market would quickly self-correct – all those decades of entrenched power and influence would cease to matter as real competition came to the fold. Needless to say, I don’t share this belief. And actually, I rather doubt Rushkoff does either.

I look forward to Rushkoff’s book. I suspect many of my points will at least be addressed.

Rest of the episode after the jump.

New Arthur Magazine is now available

arthur magazine

This one kinda snuck up on me. Anyway, you can probably find a copy at a hipster record store near you, or download it:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

As usual it has stuff from the Center for Tactical Magic, Erik Davis, and Douglas Rushkoff.

Douglas Rushkoff on 9/11 Truth

By looking under the rug for what isn’t even there, we neglect the horror show that is in plain view. In the process, we make it even easier for the criminals running our government to perpetuate their illegal, unethical and un-American activities.

In fact, the most logical conclusion I can draw from the existing evidence is that 9-11 theorists are themselves covert government operatives, dedicated to confusing the public, distracting activists from their tasks, equating all dissent with the lunatic fringe, and provoking the counterculture’s misplaced belief in the competency of its foes.
That’s the real conspiracy.

Full Story: Arthur Magazine.

New Arthur Magazine available for download

Arthur Magazine is back from the dead, and you can download the new issue below. It’s already out in LA and will be available nationally on the 5th of September. The new issue features new stuff from the Center for Tactical Magic, Douglas Rushkoff on 9/11 Truth, and more:

Part 1.

Part 2.

Podcast round-up

Viking Youth Power Hour: The Vikings Scope ‘Sicko!’

Gspot: Secrets, Cubes and Corporations: An Interview With Douglas Rushkoff.

RU Sirius Show: Free Paris Hilton!.

NeoFiles Show: From Vioxx To Salvia – Everybody Takes Drugs.

RU Sirius Show: Hip Hop & Hyphy Now.

RU Sirius Show: Will We Be Forced To Stop Global Warming?.

NeoFiles Show: Steve Wozniak Talks About His Favorite Pranks.

RU Sirius Show #116: The Kennedy Brothers v. The National Security Establishment.

Battle of the New Atheism

My friends, I must ask you an important question today: Where do you stand on God?

It’s a question you may prefer not to be asked. But I’m afraid I have no choice. We find ourselves, this very autumn, three-and-a-half centuries after the intellectual martyrdom of Galileo, caught up in a struggle of ultimate importance, when each one of us must make a commitment. It is time to declare our position.

This is the challenge posed by the New Atheists. We are called upon, we lax agnostics, we noncommittal nonbelievers, we vague deists who would be embarrassed to defend antique absurdities like the Virgin Birth or the notion that Mary rose into heaven without dying, or any other blatant myth; we are called out, we fence-sitters, and told to help exorcise this debilitating curse: the curse of faith.

The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it’s evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there’s no excuse for shirking.

Three writers have sounded this call to arms. They are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. A few months ago, I set out to talk with them. I wanted to find out what it would mean to enlist in the war against faith.

Full Story: Wired.

The two writers that have really made me come down on the side of atheism are Trevor Blake, who posts frequently about religious issues at American Samizdat and Douglas Rushkoff who recently wrote that faith is a disease.

Robert Anton Wilson needs our help

From Douglas Rushkoff:

But right now, Bob is a human being in a rather painful fleshsuit, who needs our help. I refuse for the history books to say he died alone and destitute, for I want future generations to know we appreciated Robert Anton Wilson while he was alive.

[…]

Any donations can be made to Bob directly to the Paypal account olgaceline@gmail.com.
You can also send a check payable to Robert Anton Wilson to
Dennis Berry c/o Futique Trust
P.O. Box 3561
Santa Cruz, CA 95063.

Full Story: Douglas Rushkoff.

Guru watching

Via an excerpt from Douglas Rushkoff’s latest column: Guruphiliac, a site dedicated to “exposing the profoundly manipulative legions of grifters preying on the spiritually hopeful, as well as those teachers who simply go around letting people think they’re God, one guru at a time.”

Reminds me of this site Brennio sent along: Stripping the Gurus . I’ve been meaning to read the chapter on Ken Wilber.

Evolution as a Team Sport

Speaking of Arthur Magazine, here’s Douglas Rushkoff’s first first column for them. Thanks to NWD for the reminder.

There’s a disturbing fundamentalism brewing in the counterculture these days – an aching towards apocalypse as dangerous as that of our counterparts in the reddest of states, and understood just as literally. We are to await the apex of novelty, that singularity when consciousness rises from the chrysalis of matter into a new state, beyond time and maybe even energy. And, of course, only those of us with proper spiritual or psychedelic credentials will be prepared for this inevitability, and make it through the bottleneck at the end of linear history. The rest, well, they finally get their comeuppance.

Douglas Rushkoff: Evolution as a team sport

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