[iDC] iDC Digest, Vol 55, Issue 31

Douglas Rushkoff rushkoff at rushkoff.com
Tue Jul 14 14:02:32 UTC 2009

On Jul 14, 2009, at 8:00 AM, idc-request at mailman.thing.net wrote:

> Hi--
> When you say threaten central control are you allowing for forms of  
> decentralized surveillance and control? And, with regard to banking,  
> do you have in mind the
> crazy disequilibrium of financial markets and the resulting  
> uncertainties and extremes or something else?
> Jodi

Well, it all folds in on itself.

My main focus is the *opportunity* for decentralized value creation.  
This means financial activity and transactions that occur between  
individuals and small groups, rather than through central bank-issued  
currency, by borrowing from banks, or by working within large  
corporate structures. These kinds of person-to-person, bottom-up,  
decentralized activity was made illegal in the Renaissance, and it's  
still pretty impractical today, given regulations written by the  
lobbyists who mean to perpetuate centralized corporate control of  

I think "decentralized surveillance and control" is an interesting  
construction, because it doesn't necessarily convey by whom. Real  
decentralized surveillance, to me, would be surveillance being  
conducted by small groups or individuals without traditional  
surveillance powers. A kid monitoring his government, from the safety  
of his bedroom and the anonymity of proxy.

But I have a feeling you were talking about the way that decentralized  
technologies can also be used by central authorities. Which is  
absolutely true. The question then becomes whether technology is  
biased more towards their use, or ours (if we take ourselves to be the  
decentralized actors).

As for banking, I am referring to a whole lot. Banking, for me, is the  
industry currently in charge of distributing centrally issued currency  
to all businesses and individuals. Banking is a strictly regulated  
monopoly. I am interested in the way that technologies such as  
computers and networking create opportunities for other groups and  
individuals to develop currencies more biased towards their own needs  
and transactions, and less biased to the need of bankers to extract  
value from our exchanges.

It's definitely a big topic, though, and I don't know that I have time  
to figure out the whole talk I plan to give in advance. The closest  
would be my book, Life Inc.

If you want to read it but don't have the means to pay, go to  
rushkoff.com/life and use the password life.

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