Douglas Rushkoff has written a new book–Life Inc— about the rise of corporatism begun in the Renaissance. Here’s a blurb:
Taking on some of the biggest assumptions of our age, this is a book filled with dangerous ideas and rather unspeakable heresies(?!):
- Money is not a part of nature, to be studied by a science like economics, but an invention with a specific purpose.
- Centralized currency is just one kind of money – one not intended to promote transactions but to promote the accumulation of capital by the wealthy.
- Banking is our society’s biggest industry, and debt is our biggest product.
- Corporations were never intended to promote commerce, but to prevent it.
- The development of chartered corporations and centralized currency caused the plague; the economic devastation ended Europe’s most prosperous centuries, and led to the deaths of half of its population.
- The more money we make, the more debt we have actually created.
- Most importantly, Rushkoff shows how this moment of financial crisis is actually an opportunity to reinstate commerce and communities based in creating value for one another, rather than continuing to extract it for the benefit of institutions that no longer exist.
Well, ok. Not all that original (I think Marx clearly saw this , for one example), but Rushkoff has a nice way of popularizing and distilling ideas for the general reader and it just may be decent summer reading. Here’s Rushkoff talking about his new book: