Enrique Santos's Reviews > Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back

Life Inc. by Douglas Rushkoff
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Jun 14, 2009

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Read in June, 2009

I was really drawn to this book after reading the excerpts of it on Boing Boing and Rushkoff's own web site. In short, the book is about two things: how people in society came to adopt the values of corporate interests as their own as opposed to vice versa, and just how this trend can be reversed. What I feel the book suffers from is the fact that there is too much explanation of the former, and far less of the latter.

Rushkoff analyzes the role of corporations from as far back as the Middle Ages. From there, he spends a great deal of the book talking about the rise of public relations and consolidation of corporate power that became intrinsically linked with the interests and policies of national governments.

To me, a great deal of this history was a rehash of the most excellent documentary series The Century of the Self (The full series can be found on Google Video). The real gem of this work really comes when Rushkoff begins to talk about the history of currency itself and goes in-depth into the historical use of complementary currencies among communities, and how it is a trend that is picking up once more. His calls for greater community involvement and support for local organizations is also a positive message that seems very practical in today's world.

I highly advise that anyone that reads through this book take Rushkoff's analysis with a grain of salt, at times he seems to brush his view in broad strokes over a situation. So long as you're able to critically analyze his arguments and have the willingness to research further on your own, I recommend this book highly. There are many great ideas and points to consider.

I'm really glad a book like this is giving exposure to a whole lot of these ideas, even if it is flawed.
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Peter B I completely agree that he should have talked much more about how to change the system.

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