Write at least three pages (minimum; i.e., approximately 1,000 words) in response to each one of these two essay questions:
ESSAY QUESTION #1: Read all of Chapter 5 in Rushkoff, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (pages 224-239) and also Rushkoff’s one-page article on the extraction of value, “Rich Customer, Rich Company” (see the PDF online at http://www.rushkoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Rich-Customer-Rich-Company.pdf). Explain how our new media technologies can distribute value creation and enable a sustainable economy, instead of simply digitizing industrial extraction and growing even more capital that stays stored in share price. Contrast Rushkoff’s “digital distributism” with the three other types of economic operating systems (Rushkoff, Chapter 5, pages 225, 233), especially digital industrialism. Explain how “digital distributism” is not leftism, but rather an emphasis on subsidiarity (Rushkoff, Chapter 5, pages 228-232, esp. 231) that retrieves key aspects of the artisan economy. Use the tetrad of Marshall McLuhan to compare the industrial corporation with a genuinely digital, distributist business (Rushkoff, Chapter 5, pages 237-238). In particular, what do you think of the business model of Bas van Abel’s “Fairphone” as an example for future commerce? Be sure to consult Rushkoff’s podcast with him at: http://teamhuman.fm/episodes/ep-30-bas-van-abel-fingerprints-on-the-touchscreen/
ESSAY QUESTION #2: What are the four conditions for an action to be considered truly morally good according to the PDE (Principle of Double Effect)? Are PDE judgments really consequentialist? To answer that question, consider the following “embryo rescue” problem by applying the PDE to it: “You’re in a fertility clinic. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled ‘1,000 Viable Human Embryos.’ The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one. Do you (A) save the child, or (B) save the thousand embryos? There is no (C); (C) means you all die.” The problem was originally posed at https://twitter.com/stealthygeek/status/920089167765426179 and you will want to read the response by Robert P. George at http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2017/10/20332/. Does this thought experiment prove that “A human child is worth more than a thousand embryos. Or ten thousand. Or a million. Because they are not the same, not morally, not ethically, not biologically. No one, anywhere, actually believes an embryo is equivalent to a child. That person does not exist. They are lying to you. No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who claim to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women” (as Patrick S. Tomlinson argues)?
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