The Greatest Threat To Social Media


juarez2bI taught an undergraduate class in International Business this weekend in Mexicali, Mexico as part of an international assignment as Associate Faculty for City University of Seattle.  I first taught in Mexico 15 years ago as visiting faculty during the NAFTA era where I spent 3 years conducting research which eventually lead to  The Ingenesist Project.

My first year in Mexico back in 1994, I thought to myself, “Wow, I can change everything”.  The next year, I thought to myself, “Wow, I can’t change anything”.  The third year, I thought to myself, “Wow, why would I want to change anything, Mexico is doing just fine the way it is”.

At that time, I was referring to the cohesiveness of community, family values, complex social structure, community interdependence, generosity, empathy and personal warmth – despite their “Cold War” classification as a “Third World” country – that the Mexican people held forward to each other as well as visitors.

I also remember the huge city-wide parties (imagine a million person party) after the country won a big soccer match, or after a popular political candidate won and election, or during New Years, Christmas, and Easter, etc.  Wow – what a magnificent place.

Fast forward to this past weekend; I was explaining the implications of the financial crisis relative to the changes that have taken place since NAFTA.  Today, thousands of Global Corporations now surround the city like an advancing army, proud people are now working for wages, Euro/America centric textbooks chart their course into modernization, and pending currency shifts loom unpredictable in their speed and scope – the effects will likely not be in the best interest of the people who actually produce things.  So, I deviated from the course material – If I didn’t do it, nobody else would.  I included material on how to use Social Media.

Mexico still has it, but they are losing it – often in spectacular ways.  It seems so natural that Social Media can have a tremendous impact in countries where the fabric of community is still essentially intact.  Unfortunately, when people are held below a certain economic threshold, they simply do not have the time or the energy to organize as a community to impact social change.  This is the greatest threat to the great promise of social media in Mexico … and the United States.

The following video, A nine-minute history of corporatism, articulates the conflict that I felt when teaching the courses on International Business in Mexico.   Please watch – it is that important.

Life Inc. The Movie from Douglas Rushkoff on Vimeo.

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