Riggs Eckelberry's OF INTEREST

Of Interest: Morality and the Internet

The Internet is clearly the largest public works program undertaken by private enterprise, and this quote helped explain to me why we're doing so well.

It comes down to the difference between Commercial and Guardian moralities.

"Commercial morality is employed by businesses and depends on continuing innovation and development of relationships: shun force, come to voluntary agreements, respect contracts, be optimistic and competitive. Anyone who hopes to do business with strangers must proceed with the assumption of competitive good faith.

"Guardian morality, on the other hand, employed by governments and not businesses, depends on secrecy and tradition: be obedient, respect hierarchy, take vengeance, be fatalistic and ostentatious."

I agree with the minimum Guardianship required to keep us all safe; beyond that, let's stay with the winning morality.


The quote comes from Douglas Rushkoff's very cool book on thriving in an age of chaos, Playing The Future (New York: Harper-Collins, 1996). Here, he is paraphrasing Jane Jacobs in Systems of Survival, who used these fundamentally different moralities to explain international relationships.

Links to these books:
Playing The Future
Systems of Survival (out of print)

Powered by Blogger Pro™