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veen  ·  412 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - David Graeber

For me the piece seems a natural companion to the Rushkoff and Lanier books I just finished. Combining the three, I think the core of the matter is this: when you consider the possibilities that both technology and organizational structures allow, the narrow space that tech/business operates in is an abject failure with dire consequences. Rushkoff discusses the problem at length and sees decentralized non-growth systems as a solution, Graeber makes some poignant observations about those consequences and presents ideas for its origin, and Lanier explores the possibilities of how it can be different and why those more humanist alternatives are better. I agree that Graeber fizzles out, which I think is because he bites off a bit more than he could chew with this piece. I haven't read his latest book, perhaps he fleshes his conclusion out more in them.

What I am not so sure about is what to do with this information. On the one hand, it seems like we're heading in the right direction with companies wanting to change their structure and practice more and with those new distributed forms gaining some traction. On the other hand, I doubt that change goes fast enough. It's easy to slide into a fatalistic mindset when the problem seems to be so rooted in and fundamental to current society and economies.

So I don't know what to think exactly. All three make interesting observations, that's for sure, but I don't see a good way to change the 'lock-in' that's already occurred (to use Laniers term), despite Rushkoffs optimism.