On Technologies of Persuasion

My course at the MaybeLogic Academy begins Monday. It’ll take a few days to ramp up, and the first assignment is really easy, so if you decide late and want to join in during the week, you won’t have any trouble.

Here’s an interview I was honored to do with Jon Lebkowsky, who has served as both a friend and mentor to me over the years. He was one of the first people to recognize what was about to “happen” to society, and started a great ‘zine called Fringeware.

Jon: In the anti-marketing school of thought, they talk about creating great customer experiences and triggering word of mouth. In all this, I suppose the “customer” or “consumer” is just another statistic. Hard to be authentic with people you’re seeing as aggregate numbers, and not as human beings.

I’ve been hanging out with people who want to transform economic thinking – build an economy based on sustainability… “economics as if people mattered,” as Schumacher said. How do we get to that kind of transformation? It feels like we have to sell, but selling it is sort of antithetical to the intention.

Doug: I don’t think you can do it without first revealing the underlying biases and false assumptions of the money we’re using.

Centralized currency — invented during the Renaissance, really — favors the kinds of business practices and centralization of power that actually works against good, honest, local commerce. In short, it favors Wal-Mart over, say, Community Supported Agriculture.

There are other kinds of money – and they were in existence until they were outlawed by kings and queens looking to centralize authority. Money that is lent into existence by a central bank will tend towards scarcity and competition. Money that is earned into existence by people in a specific place has very different properties, and works on a model of abundance.

Even sacred economic doctrines, like the law of competitive advantage, are based on a series of assumptions. The models that prove their effectiveness, for example, assume 100 percent employment. And that just isn’t the case in the nations that signed onto NAFTA and other open-market agreements.

So the first step is to separate commerce from the very specific commercial and economic architecture created specifically to favor corporations and promote competition for scarce resources.

more here…