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= book and concept

The Concept

Roderick Long:

"Let’s define coercion as the forcible subjection, actual or threatened, of the person or property of another to one’s own uses, without that other’s consent. In light of this definition, it is possible to distinguish three kinds of coercion:

a. Defensive coercion: I use coercion against you, but only to the extent necessary to end your aggression against me (or someone I legitimately represent).

b. Retaliatory coercion: I use coercion against you, but while you are aggressing against me (or someone I legitimately represent), my coercion exceeds the extent necessary to end such aggression on your part.

c. Initiatory coercion (or aggression): I use coercion against you, although you are not using coercion against me (or anyone I legitimately represent).

The Justification of Coercion

Given these definitions, there are four possible positions one might take on the justification of coercion:

1. Coercion is never justified.

2. Defensive coercion is justified, but retaliatory and initiatory coercion are not.

3. Defensive and retaliatory coercion are justified, but initiatory coercion is not.

4. Defensive, retaliatory, and initiatory coercion are all justified." (

The Book

* Book. Coercion. By Douglas Rushkoff.

From the author:

"My book Coercion was aimed at helping consumers gain some agency in a consumer-media arms race. My book Media Virus was really a celebration of the datasphere's new complexity. I was celebrating how it was now operating more like an organism than a system of control.

Coercion took a step back, and tried to help people see how easily they transferred their autonomy to others. The idea of Coercion is that we see many institutions and people as a "they" - as an authority. When there actually is no such authority. We create "they." Without us, "they" don't exist.

As far as your us and them, there is none. There's only us. There are many human beings working in corporations who are the most programmed beings on the planet. Yes, they are doing terrible terrible stuff - but that's the reason why real thinking human beings need to go in there and help them come back into consciousness. Sometimes, it means convincing people in corporations to quit their jobs. I've done that. Sometimes it means helping a small group take over the company - take it back from those who have perverted its deeper purpose. I've done that.

Sometimes I just give up. I realize the place is too big and the people are too hardened to hear what I have to say. But those aren't the kinds of places that invite me in, to begin with. They look at my website or read my articles and very quickly understand what it is I'd be asking them to do." (