Episode

4/3 The Tech Bro Billionaire Ethos That Will Eat Us All w/ Douglas Rushkoff

April 3, 2023

Sam and Emma host Douglas Rushkoff, professor of Media Studies at Queens College, to discuss his recent book Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on Trump’s arraignment, the Chinese Spy Balloon, opinions on Trump’s indictment, Trump’s growing lead over DeSantis, and the advancement of the Dominion vs. Fox case, before diving into James Trusty, Trump’s attorney, appearing on Fox. Douglas Rushkoff dives right into the genesis of his study on the escapist fantasies of tech billionaires, as he was invited to speak at a wealthy tech talk, only for the discussion to run off the rails into fantasies of post-apocalyptic autocracy. Parsing through this, Professor Rushkoff looks at the inverse relationship between wealth and empathic response, and explores why the ideology of big tech seeks to separate the capitalist from the labor exploitation that creates their capital, as seen in everything from their industrial practices to Musk’s colonies on Mars. This brings Rushkoff to the topic of “Effective Altruism” as a way for Tech entrepreneurs to excuse the exploitation and discrimination that comes from their products in favor of supposed future benefits for the next stage of humanity, and why philosophical arguments (rather than material ones) ground this reactionary libertarianism. Wrapping up, Douglas, Sam, and Emma tackle the refusal of tech “disruptors” to attempt disrupting capitalism, and what we can learn from Elon Musk’s Twitter debacle.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma watch Matt Walsh argue that slavery was good because it gave us Matt Walsh, Dylan from Atlanta dives into crypto alternatives, and John Fetterman makes his first public comments on his recent battle with depression. A Republican Colorado school board resigns en-masse after harassment from OTHER Republicans, Dave from Jamaica reflects on Today’s interview and the vitriol of Matt Walsh, and Chris from Atlanta discusses the balance between voting on policy and voting on electability. Tristan from Wisconsin calls in ahead of tomorrow’s special election, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Douglas’s book here: https://wwnorton.com/books/survival-of-the-richest

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