Equanimity

Holistic local sustainability; food, water, energy, money, people

Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires

It doesn’t have to be this way and you can make little choices that help.

transhuman drone bodies” by new 1lluminati is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Douglas Rushkoff’s new book is a real life version of the Netflix movie Don’t Look Up. Here’s a breakdown of it: The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind.

The crux of it is that “Digital platforms have turned an already exploitative and extractive marketplace (think Walmart) into an even more dehumanizing successor (think Amazon). Most of us became aware of these downsides in the form of automated jobs, the gig economy, and the demise of local retail.”

In Australia, we’ve paid a huge price in social capital for cheap, imported manufactured products. The ‘made in’ labels’ imply we’re incapable of producing them and the kudos goes to China. The powers-that-be sacrificed a diverse economy that offered Australian’s a wider range of careers.

“But the more devastating impacts of pedal-to-the-metal digital capitalism fall on the environment and global poor. The manufacture of some of our computers and smartphones still uses networks of slave labor. These practices are so deeply entrenched that a company called Fairphone, founded from the ground up to make and market ethical phones, learned it was impossible. (The company’s founder now sadly refers to their products as “fairer” phones.)”

“The more committed we are to this view of the world, the more we come to see human beings as the problem and technology as the solution.”

Anna Johansson puts it well in her article We need to reduce our dependence on technology if we want to keep innovating: “Instead of introducing a gradual improvement or iterative form of assistance, we’re overwriting entire functions of our brains and bodies. As a metaphor, shoes serve to protect your feet from the dangers of walking on questionable terrain, but if you rely on a wheelchair when you don’t truly need one, your leg muscles would eventually atrophy.” A whole raft of digital technology is overwriting the functions of our brains, such as auto text, spelling and grammar corrections. Technology has snuffed out innovation in calendar and spelling reform and younger generations aren’t even aware that the memory parts of their brains are shrinking.

“Thus, we get tech billionaires launching electric cars into space — as if this symbolizes something more than one billionaire’s capacity for corporate promotion. And if a few people do reach escape velocity and somehow survive in a bubble on Mars — despite our inability to maintain such a bubble even here on Earth in either of two multibillion-dollar Biosphere trials — the result will be less a continuation of the human diaspora than a lifeboat for the elite.”

The problem for many of us is that technology is so compellingly convenient. That’s why you’ll see the Amish with electric light bulbs on their horse-drawn carriages.

“Luckily, those of us without the funding to consider disowning our own humanity have much better options available to us. We don’t have to use technology in such antisocial, atomizing ways.”

The first habit to adopt is restraint. Do you really need that new gizmo or app? Consider the cost, not just to yourself, but to others and the environment. How long can you make your mobile phone last? Often, simpler is easier, as I discovered with my home-made chook door. Another habit is skepticism. Most, if not all, producers do not have your interests at heart. The food industry’s obesity epidemic should tell you they’re more your enemy than your friend. Remember every dollar you spend is a vote. Who are they and how do they do business? Use the Ethical Shopper Guide – it’ll help you choose from the excessive number of products and it’ll support your first habit. Another habit is be frugal. Declutter. Get out of debt. Remember, the less money you earn and spend, the less you’re supporting the wealth pump. Finally, have a goal to be independent of the ‘system’ so you can free yourself up to be a part of Team Human.

“We can become the individual consumers and profiles that our devices and platforms want us to be, or we can remember that the truly evolved human doesn’t go it alone. Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.

One comment on “Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires

  1. Pingback: The Forth Great Humiliation of Humanity is Upon Us. | Equanimity

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This entry was posted on September 3, 2022 by .
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