Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.

Archive for June, 2009

Clear Demise

June 23, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

This is a real shame. I used Clear regularly, and it was a very valuable service.


Life, Inc.

June 18, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Douglas Rushkoff has a new book called Life, Inc. I’ve not read it (it’s on the way), but Fast Company sat down with Douglas to discuss it recently.

In the book, Douglas claims that currency was invented to prevent transactions and put a brake on economic growth, corporations exist to stifle competition, and banks do not fund competition–they drain it. But he’s no communist: “A true free marketeer, actually,” Rushkoff says. “I’m just trying to point out that we’re not operating in anything close to a free market.”

Douglas goes into detail about how we find ourselves here, and what we can do to get out. I’ve never read Douglas before, but boy do I like him.

So what’s your solution?

DR: There are many. The first is to allow corporations to crumble under their own weight. When they really do get too big to work efficiently, our first response should not be to change the playing field to prevent their demise at the expense of all the great, smaller, more competitive and innovative companies that should be replacing them.

We tend to think of letting big companies die as being cruel to the workers – and this might be so. But these companies wouldn’t have gotten so big in the first place if we hadn’t regulated their monopolies in the first place. And unions are often complicit in this scheme as well.

The easiest ways through this are:
1. promote local commerce – of the sort Adam Smith envisioned.
2. break the highly centralized, bureaucratic liaison between government and big business for industries such as Big Agra, Big Pharma, and Big Oil. Undo protectionist regulations making it impossible or illegal for farmers to grow the crops best suited to their climates and soil.
3. develop alternative currencies (like the ones in Japan that were used to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars of healthcare to elders) and promote business-to-business barter networks (such as , alone transferring over $100-million of b2b exchange annually).
4. learn to actually do something. the easiest way for a business to make money is by providing goods and services. since almost no one does this anymore, there’s a great opportunity here.

Do you think that’s realistic?

DR: Only as realistic as the survival of our economy on a geopolitical landscape that no longer accepts the expansion of our markets as given. We are getting significant “push back” from Asia, Africa and South America. They’re not willing to serve simply as expansions of our markets or World Bank debtors. So we may have to abandon an economic model that was based on the colonial expansions of Renaissance nations, and look towards a more sophisticated, less regulated and protectionist landscape. The rest of the world is no longer going to respect the monopolies our governments declare. So it’s time to compete again. This means America learning how to do something instead of simply outsourcing and creating debt.

It won’t be easy, but it could actually be fun. Imagine competence as a viable alternative.