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Doug Rushkoff

Excerpt from A Talk Based on "Life Inc" by Douglas Rushkoff

We are very excited to have this fascinating excerpt from a talk by Douglas Rushkoff based on his book Life Inc.: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back -- a book that challenges us to think completely differently about how we see the economics, the world of business, and money itself.

Hmmm, yeah, I mean, as I see it, nothing is free, right? Nothing is free. Everything, everything costs. It’s just that many things are not paid for, right? So there’s a very big difference between those two things. Hmmm, I think, I think that the problem is that the operating system for money, the operating system that we use for money is obsolete, and it’s incompatible with the digital era. Right? Our money system is a legacy system, right? And like any legacy systems, they work for a certain amount of time, you forget that it’s even a legacy, and then you begin to accept the operating system as a given circumstance.

So then we talk about free, and we have all these discussions, accepting the kind of currency we use as the given circumstance of the economy. Once you understand, once you cope with the fact that it’s only an operating system, you realize “Oh, the programs that we’re trying to run aren’t working for us anymore”. Not because the programs are the problem, or because we’re the problem, but because the OS, the operating system that we’re running them on doesn’t work for that anymore. The stuff, the stuff in our pockets, you know the stuff that we call money is not, this is not money.

Did you ever hear about general semantics? General semantics, the idea you can’t use the word “is”. You can’t say “This is money”. You take the word “is” out of the equation. And you’re not allowed to use it anymore. Then what can we say? We can say “this represents money in our society right now”. Right? “We use this as currency”. That’s all we can say about it. This is not money. This is not value. This is not anything, right? This “is”, if it’s going to be “is”, this is paper with stuff printed on it, that means something.


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