A brilliant takedown and exposé of the great con job of the twenty-first century—the metaverse, crypto, space travel, transhumanism—being sold by four billionaires (Peter Thiel, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreesen, Elon Musk), leading to the degeneration and bankruptcy of our society.
THE END OF REALITY:
How Four Billionaires are Selling a Fantasy Future of The Metaverse, Mars, and Crypto
by Jonathan Taplin
PublicAffairs, September 2023
(via Writers House)
At a time when the crises of income inequality, climate, and democracy are compounding to create epic wealth disparity and the prospect of a second American civil war, four billionaires are hyping schemes that are designed to divert our attention away from issues that really matter. Each scheme—the metaverse, cryptocurrency, space travel, and transhumanism—is an existential threat in moral, political, and economic terms.
In THE END OF REALITY¸ Jonathan Taplin provides perceptive insight into the personal backgrounds and cultural power of these billionaires—Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marc Andreesen (“The Four”) —and shows how their tech monopolies have brought middle-class wage stagnation, the hollowing out of many American towns, a radical increase in income inequality, and unbounded public acrimony. Meanwhile, the enormous amount of taxpayer money to be funneled into the dystopian ventures of « The Four, » the benefits of which will accrue to billionaires, exacerbate these disturbing trends.
THE END OF REALITY is both scathing critique and reform agenda that replaces the warped worldview of « The Four » with a vision of regenerative economics that seeks to build a sustainable society with healthy growth and full employment.
“Persuasive and insightful, this cutting portrait of America on the verge of oligarchy hits home.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Jonathan Taplin is a public intellectual, writer, film producer, and scholar. He is the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California and professor at the USC Annenberg School from in the field of international communication management and digital media entertainment. His extraordinary journey has put him at the crest of every major cultural wave in the past half century: he was tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band, producer of major films such as Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, an executive at Merrill Lynch, creator of the Internet’s first video-on-demand service and a cultural critic and author writing about technology in the new millennium. His book Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy (Little Brown 2017) was nominated by the Financial Times as one of the Best Business Books of 2017. His commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Medium, the Washington Monthly, and the Wall Street Journal.