Monday, May 11, 2009

Douglas Rushkoff's "Life, Inc" book and short film preview

Media ecology professor, author, and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff has been writing a book called Life, Inc: How The World Became a Corporation and How To Take It Back. While Joel Bakun's book (and documentary film), The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power, describes how public corporations are basically psychopathic neighbors that are bound by Law to make choices detrimental to humanity and the environment (in the pursuit of infinite profit growth), Rushkoff's book will discuss how Kings fabricated an economic environment designed to control the merchant class, bringing rise to chartered corporations and a mindset of self-interest, consumerism and profit above all other virtues that people, particularly Americans have adopted as the default nature of being.

Above is a short video preview.

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posted by Brian at 9:47 AM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TEDx USC: Juan Enriquez

The folks in the TEDx booth fixed the audio glitch and played this TED 2009 video again. Ahh, much better.

It's a rare public speaker who can take an otherwise depressing topic (the collapse of Wall Street and the U.S. economy) and make it both humorous and hopeful.

I had no idea how far advanced organ regrowth technology has come, nor that Boston Dynamics (whom I've been following since the early 90s since hearing about them via Alan Alda on Scientific American Frontiers) now has a free-standing quadraped robot that walks freakishly close to a real animal. Wow!

Now if we can all get affordable health care and free robotic assistants, the future looks brighter indeed!

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posted by Brian at 6:36 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Video: Saturday Night Live's prophetic sketch about the Credit Crisis

Only problem is... our entire world economy is now built on buying bets on people buying things they cannot afford. No wonder so many religions were against usury.

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posted by Brian at 7:36 AM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Comic: Federal Government Bailing Out The Federal Government

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Start a scam in China? Die!

In sharp contrast to how America deals with Corporate Fraud, there's China.

From the BBC News:

A Chinese company chairman has been sentenced to death for running a scam involving giant ants.

Wang Zhendong promised investors returns of up to 60% if they put money into the fictitious ant-breeding project, the court heard. Wang, from Liaoning province, raised 3bn yuan ($390m; 200m) in three years, prosecutors said.

The ants are used in traditional medicines and remedies in parts of China.

Fifteen other staff members were fined and given jail terms of between five and 10 years. More than 10,000 investors signed 100,000 contracts with the company before the case was investigated in June 2005, Xinhua news agency reported.

Only 10m yuan was recovered before the case was brought to court, it said. One investor committed suicide after realising he had been duped, according to the court.

Wang's actions also caused huge economic losses for investors and many subsequently suffered from depression, it added.

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posted by Brian at 5:56 PM 0 comments links to this post

Hazards of Unregulated Free Market Capitalism #17: Vulture Funds

Those of you (probably not reading my blog) who still have unquestioning faith that so-called Free Market economies (the particular variety with few if any regulations governing the behavior of entities within) will "regulate" themselves and play nice with the Earth, Nature, and Man-Kind should read this eye-opening commentary, a blurb of which is found below:

Donegal International is a breed of investor known as a "vulture fund" -- though such an association is a foul slur upon a bird that never deserved such calumny. Surely, no living creature other than a human being could conceive of and carry through so insidious a business plan as buying up the debts of destitute African nations at bargain rates and then turning around and suing those same nations for vastly inflated sums.
The inspiration for this commentary is at documentarian Greg Palast's site.

Now I realize, buying debt is a common practice (at least in America) -- one can buy foreclosed houses, cars, property, etc. Given that we save -1% of our incomes on average, this would suggest there's a high risk of debt sales.

But buying government debts?? Who needs to invade a country -- if it's poor, just buy its debt and threaten to sue it out of existence with an army of lawyers. Settle with payments of property instead of cash.

Hmm, anyone want to buy New Orleans' debt after Katrina? Nothing illegal about it. It's a Free Market, after all. Would hurt the Economy if we stopped such a thing...
*petting* Poor little Economy. Silly regulators trying to hurt you. Oh, but what about the the Children! We must regulate regulate regulate! Nudity? Ban! Words? Ban! Evolution and other un-Godly ideas? Ban! Filthy World out there must be kept away from the Children! Filthy World tarnished by sinful Mankind, made by the Intelligent Designer. Oh, but Corporations -- those are good for the Economy. Good little Economy. There there. *petting*

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posted by Brian at 5:03 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Horses, gambling, and the American Dream

I saw Seabuiscut the other night, for free. While it's a great movie and the reviews of it are glowing hot like George Foreman grills left on too long, I thought I'd point out a few interesting observations:

  1. The film is largely about Tobey Maguire's ass. It's either darting across the screen trying to beat the other asses, or it's getting beaten up.
  2. The American dream is actually gambling. Gambling on stocks, boxing, horse races...

Therefore, I suppose "trickle-down economics" is just wealthy people buying horses (or corporations) and spinning stories so that the common people can know who to bet their money on. This gives them hope.

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posted by Brian at 5:27 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 07, 2003

Battlefield Economy: Commanding Heights Documentary

Watched a fascinating documentary on PBS called Commanding Heights, about Globalization. The WTO is the controlling subsystem of the World Bank attempting to improve the rules in a particularly chaotic system, the Global Economy. Opponents (world-wide activists) protest on behalf of the poor, who are the victims of economic bubble bursts, or are ignored by the system altogether because they lack representation (i.e. titles to land, identification). The WTO has a tendency to protect wealthy interests, and create rules that funnel money into the U.S. but not to other needy countries. In such a chaotic system, it seems almost impossible to write enough rules that would balance things out.


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