Doug Rushkoff on Life, Inc.

For the last week and a half, I’ve been leading a discussion with Doug Rushkoff about his new book, Life, Inc. You can find us on the WELL. Doug’s analysis of the coevolution of the corporation and contemporary cultures and economies is important to consider; it points to the need for a new sustainability economy.

Of course centralized currency works for some. Hammers work for some. They just suck at brain surgery. Centralized currency is not the only kind of currency there could be, and it has certain biases to it. It would work a whole lot better if there were other currencies that promoted circulation over hording, and abundance over scarcity.

Yes yes yes. Some things are scarce, and scarce currencies can help orchestrate scarce markets for scarce things. They also help very wealthy people stay wealthy without working – and I make no judgment on that. There are many people who we might want to keep rich, even though they create no value. Or businesses that are just going through a rough century or two and need to be able to stay afloat by investing and growing rather than creating or innovating. And they should be entitled to use whatever they can.

But we – people who create value, who work, who innovate – should also be able to work with currencies that reflect the value we have created. Just as people used to get a grain receipt for every pound they brought to the mill – a receipt that could be traded – we, too, should be able to work currency into existence. We shouldn’t have to work *for* someone who has borrowed money at interest from the bank in order to pay us; we should be able to use a kind of money that reflects the abundance of our output rather than just the artificial scarcity of the treasury.

We’ve got a currency system that could not support the introduction of a renewable energy source. That should give us pause. We don’t have to destroy the Fed. We simply need additional mechanisms for value exchange.

Author: Jon Lebkowsky

Co-wrangler of Plutopia News Network, cohost Radio Free Plutopia. Podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. Former editor/publisher, FringeWare Review; associate editor at bOING bOING and Factsheet Five; writer at Mondo 2000, 21C, Wired, Whole Earth Review, Austin Chronicle; sub-editor at Millennium Whole Earth Catalog; blogger at Worldchanging. Digital culture maven, podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. On The WELL, Cohost of VC (virtual communities), Media, and Civil War (.ind) conferences.