Pages tagged rushkoff:

Life Inc: The Book

got mugged on Christmas Eve. I was in front of my Brooklyn apartment house taking out the trash when a man pulled a gun and told me to empty my pockets. I gave him my money, wallet, and cell phone. But then—remembering something I’d seen in a movie about a hostage negotiator—I begged him to let me keep my medical- insurance card. If I could humanize myself in his perception, I figured, he’d be less likely to kill me. He accepted my argument about how hard it would be for me to get “care” without it, and handed me back the card. Now it was us two against the establishment, and we made something of a deal: in exchange for his mercy, I wasn’t to report him—even though I had plainly seen his face. I agreed, and he ran off down the street. I foolishly but steadfastly stood by my side of the bargain, however coerced it may have been, for a few hours. As if I could have actually entered into a binding contract at gunpoint.
How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back
By: Douglas Rushkoff
Print Your Own Money - Boing Boing
"Capitalism (in addition to being a lot of other things) is the way people get rich simply for being rich."
The economy is as great an example as any of a program that not only got out of control, but became so prevalent - so accepted - that we came to take it for granted. We think of the economy and its rules as given circumstances, when they are actually constructions. In brief, the money we use is just one kind of money. Invented in the Renaissance, and protected with laws banning other kinds of money, it has very particular biases that lead to almost inevitable outcomes.
Economy's as great an example as any of a program that not only got out of control, but became so prevalent - so accepted - that we came to take it for granted. Annotated link
Meanwhile, local currencies had the opposite bias of centralized currency. Local currencies lost value over time. They were really just receipts on the amount of grain that farmer had brought to the grain store. Since some of that grain was lost to rats or water, and since the grain store had to be paid, money devalued each year. This meant the money was biased towards being spent. That's why reinvestment in infrastructure as a percent of total revenue was so high in the late Middle Ages. It's why they built those cathedrals. They were local efforts, by people looking to invest their abundant wealth into real assets for their communities' future. (Cathedrals were built to attract pilgrims and tourism.) Since the purpose of the Renaissance innovations was to keep the currently wealthy wealthy, the currency was biased to favor those who had it - and could mete it out at high interest rates to those who needed it for their transactions.
Money can be just as open source as any other operating system. It used to be.
explaning the american economic crisis