When did the humans become connected with the material culture?

March 22nd, 2010 by | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Life Inc.: How the World became a Corporation and How to Take it Back by Douglas Rushkoff is my bible.  Rushkoff’s book assisted me in discovering the core issues in the contemporary society in particular how the corporations have been affecting the American culture and how the humans have been so closely connected with the material culture.

General Motors killed the streetcars by implementing buses as another means of public transportation in cities.  Starbucks Coffee create a “third home” for their consumers as their cafes welcome their customers with a friendly atmosphere to do their work.  As part of many insurance companies’ employees’ job assignment, they are required to find ways to deny claims for their customers.  These are just some of the incredulous revelations in the book.

Rushkoff traced the origins of today’s societal issues by proposing theories in which today’s issues actually began during the Renaissance era.  From reading the book, I found that the succession of historical events truly acted like a domino affect.  For instance, Rushkoff stated that part of the reason why today’s government in the US is lacking in some control of the corporations is due to a disagreement in the political workplace during the 1700’s:

“…early American politics was dominated by a division over whether or not the United States, like European nations, should have a strong central government that was also capable of granting corporate charters and running a bank.  [Thomas] Jefferson argued unsuccessfully against Federalists George Washington and John Adams for the Bill of Rights to include ‘freedom from monopolies in commerce’…”

The creation of suburban home life was led by the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century when cable cars and commuter railroads were developed, which allowed workers to live further away from the cities is another example of a domino effect, as the US has an abundant number of suburban communities today.  The decreasing of personal face-to-face relationship with other people also began in the Industrial Revolution when people began purchasing products from stores that were brought from factories in which people didn’t know who exactly created the products.  Rushkoff used the object, oat, as an example of this situation:

“So now, instead of buying oats from a human being you knew, you’d get them from a big factory several hundred or several thousand miles away.  It would come in an impersonal big brown box.  There was no miller to be seen.”

Knowing this piece of historical information allowed me to see the bigger picture of how we built this historical event into crappy customer services today due to huge bureaucracies through which we have to scramble, as we don’t know the people behind creation of productions.

All of the information above from the book are just a few examples of how Rushkoff opened my eyes to see what has been occurring behind the scenes of the corporations and how the past historical events created the issues.

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