Rushkoff on “the Authorship Society”
November 14th, 2005

Douglas Rushkoff blogs about “the Authorship Society” — his take on sharing economies. It’s an excerpt from his new book, Get Back in the Box:

The market for products enabling the do-it-yourselfer is still growing. Home Depot and Lowe’s equip the consumer with professional grade tools, while Vitamin Warehouse and herb shops supply the self-healer. Amateurs are now more responsible for formerly expert-only aspects of their own lives, and they’re comfortable with it. The “no user serviceable parts” warning on the back of a radio or TV set is now taken as a challenge.

It’s pure renaissance. Like gamers learning to play, then use cheat codes, and then finally program for themselves, people feel they can be trusted with the code. And they are willing to go ahead and do the hard work of learning it if they feel they can improve upon what already exists.

This renaissance ethos of authorship isn’t limited to some isolated group of ‘cultural creatives’ in New York, San Francisco, and Cambridge. No, it’s a mainstream “red state” American trend, as well, emerging as crafts fairs, a NASCAR culture of car modification, gun kits, backyard farming, and even home schooling. For every Northeasterner musing on how he would have drawn up the plans for New York’s street grid to include bike lanes (and then working through the city council to create some) there’s a Midwesterner challenging the curriculum of the local school system, and rewriting his own version based on the facts and values he thinks are more important to teach a young person.

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