Now includes “The Life Inc. Guide to Reclaiming the Value You Create”
In Life Inc, award-winning writer Douglas Rushkoff traces how corporations went from being convenient legal fictions to being the dominant fact of contemporary life. The resulting ideology, corporatism, has infiltrated all aspects of civics, commerce, and culture—from the founding of the first chartered monopoly to the branding of the self, from the invention of central currency to the privatization of banking, from the Victorian Great Exhibition to the solipsism of Facebook. Life Inc explains why we see our homes as investments rather than places to live, our 401(k) plans as the ultimate measure of success, and the Internet as just another place to do business. Most important, Rushkoff illuminates both how we’ve become disconnected from our world and how we can reconnect to our towns, to the value we can create, and, mostly, to one another. As the speculative economy collapses under its own weight, Life Inc shows us how to build a real and human-scaled society to take its place.
Rushkoff (Nothing Sacred) offers a shrill condemnation of how corporate culture has disconnected human beings from each other. An engaging history of commerce and corporatism devolves into an extended philippic on how increasing personal wealth and the rise of nuclear families constituted a failure of community whose services are now provided by products and professionals. While he makes some good points for instance, about how some laws are now written to favor the rights of corporations above the rights of human beings, and the phenomenon of pro-wealth spirituality as espoused by The Secret, Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen he skews wildly off-course lamenting how "basic human activity... has been systematically robbed of its naturally occurring support mechanisms by a landscape tilted toward the market's priorities." His unsupported and flawed assumption that societal interdependence is a natural or even preferable state for all people, everywhere, his disdain for filthy lucre and joyless recasting of independence as "selfishness" will leave readers weary long before the end.
A series contribution to the study of sociology
A groundbreaking work from social commentator and Frontline contributor Douglass Rushkoff. I have been using his work as part of my high school AP Economics curriculum for years and Life Inc will fit right in. Rushkoff is in his element here as he peels back the wool again carefully and slowly laid over our eyes by corporate America. He shows us how the line between people and customers is being again blurred through advertising. The key thesis is how the connection of the corporate ideology to the democracy leave popular sovereignty out in the cold. Brilliantly done and chilling, a definite read.