Douglas Rushkoff: “The Ultimate Exit Strategy”

September 27, 2022

(Conversation Recorded on August 25, 2022.)

On this episode, author and professor Douglas Rushkoff joins me. Douglas and I discuss how human behavior interacts with technology and how we have arrived at a place with enormous wealth and income inequality just as society is rapidly approaching biophysical limits.

Douglas unpacks parts of his new book, “Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires,” on the need to collectively break away from a top-down mindset to embrace circularity and resiliency.

About Douglas Rushkoff

Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the upcoming Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, as well as the recent Team Human, based on his podcast, and the bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

Show Notes & Links to Learn More

PDF Transcript

00:36 – Douglas’ info + works

01:52 Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires

04:48Derivative of a stock


06:35‘Meta’ and dehumanization

08:36Nate’s story

12:13Technology addiction

13:19Lateral thinking

16:00 The problem with techno-solutionism

17:35Growth based economic system

18:01Expensive things don’t necessarily make us happy

19:22The Wanting is stronger than the Having

19:50Epson printers have software that make them useless after a number of pages

20:40 How the monetary system works

23:20French President Macron’s speech

23:45Europe’s energy challenges

24:20Nate’s short movie

25:12GDP per capita vs happiness increase in the US

27:5680 richest own half the world’s wealth

29:13The Gini number becoming higher

29:20The benefits of socially oriented education

34:10 Why the virtual economy is not the solution to energy problems

37:13Jeff Bezos launch of the Blue Origin mission

37:54William Shatner response to space

41:30Elon musk beliefs on sacrificing people now in order for those in the future

41:39Nick Bostrom, MacAskill What We Owe the Future


42:51Since the 1970’s, we have had more and more energy access

43:20Hubbert’s Peak

43:50 Natural gas is the equivalent of $200/barrel oil in Europe

44:20 Debt is used to pull energy forward in time

47:10Commons based management of resources

47:39Worker owned businesses

48:28Local school movements/charter schools

48:59Rebirth of public libraries

49:34Josh Farley + TGS episodes 1 + 2

59:23Team Human

1:01:28Why marketing and algorithms are so powerful

1:03:29Walter Lippman

1:09:53Marshall McLuhan

1:11:20Climate refugees

1:12:25The culture of young women and girls online

1:12:40 Ariana Grande bombing

1:14:15The culture of young men online

1:15:02 Github

1:16:07Stewart Brand


Teaser photo credit; By FlyingSinger –, CC BY 2.0,

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.

Tags: building resilient societies, human behavior, Technology