Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Followup Rushkoff on the Economy

Apparently, Douglas Rushkoff has gotten a lot of flack for his article in Arthur Magazine that I wrote about the other day. You know, the one where he called our current economy a big ponzi scheme and said that we should let the current system die.

He has a new article explaining what he was talking about up now at Arthur’s site. It is worth a read.

Here is an excerpt:

"For reasons I cannot understand, people seem to think that my explaining this phenomenon somehow means I want us to go back to a hunter-gatherer stage. Or that I long nostalgically for a return to a late-middle-ages lifestyle. Or that I am somehow renouncing my earlier enthusiasm for new technology and media. Nothing of the kind. The cyberpunk ethos was actually based in the very same DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos I’m espousing now. Cyberpunk was about reclaiming technology, making modifications oneself or with one’s friends, generating value from the bottom up, exchanging goods and services in an alternative economy. I’m not saying we get rid of money—only that we learn to make it ourselves, as communities. I’m not saying we get rid of banks—only that we stop outsourcing our banking to Wall Street firms that mean only to extract value from our communities. I have always admired hackers—computer hackers and social hackers. I’m just trying to expand the range of technologies and institutions we feel ready and willing to hack. We should hack money. We should hack banking. We should hack business. This doesn’t necessarily mean hacking the dollar, which is just one kind of closed source currency. We should hack money by coding new kinds. Bank hacking has been around for a long time—it’s just that credit unions and other local or community-based bank models were driven down by the anti-competitive practice of banking conglomerates. It’s time for those institutions to be renewed, as well. [...] The banking bailout is a fiasco because it is taking money from future generations to restore the lending-based economy. I believe it would be cheaper and better to use a tiny fraction of the money to actually employ people, and to educate communities in how to rebuild local economies. "

We need more people calling on the public to really reflect on the realities of our current economic situtions, even if their opinions are wrong. I tend to agree with Rushkoff to a great degree but that isn’t the point. We’re at a potential (or possible required) turning point economically and socially. We shouldn’t ignore it.