Read This Book: “Life, Inc”

As part of my research into the Connected Age, and why business needs to be more human, I came across Douglas Rushkoff’s “Life Inc: How Corporatism Conquered the World And How to Take It Back.”

This is an important, eye-opening book. Rushkoff is a akin to Neo in the Matrix, seeing through our societal behavior to the corporatism that undergirds everything.

There are two main things I appreciate about this book. The first is political. In 2000, I caught a lot of grief for having supported Nader. My point at the time is that the difference between Bush and Gore was negligible. Nader’s point was that corporate influence had rendered the two main political parties nearly identical. While perhaps an unpopular opinion, I still believe that to be true — just look at how many of Bush’s policies Obama carries on. And real solutions for our social, economic, health, and environmental challenges will be neglected or heavily compromised, because of corporatism.

The other is professional. As I discussed in my post addressing bureaucracies, the prevalent belief is that this is how things have always been, and so this is how things will inevitably be. Rushkoff points out that much of what we take for granted — corporations, centralized currencies, real estate — are fabrications, created by the powerful to maintain their influence and inhibit people from engaging directly with one another.

Sometimes this book feels like medicine — reading it is good for you, but not necessarily fun. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort.