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back to article Post-Profit Prophet RUSSELL BRAND is the HUMBLE CHRIST of STARTUPS

Some news events are so momentous they instantly become burned into the memory - as irreversibly as an iOS firmware upgrade. For example, I’ll never forget where I was when the Berlin Wall came down. I was still a schoolboy: in prep school in Geneva, trying to buy heroin. But 23 years later, everything about that day comes …

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Diversity.

Saddened by the lack of an appearance of Steve's boon companion, the lovely มาลัย (which means "Garland of Flowers" in Thai).

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Re: Diversity.

"มาลัย (which means "Garland of Flowers" in Thai)."

Curiously, Goggle Mistranslate claims that มาลัย really does mean "Garland". "of Flowers" is not specified.

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Stop

Nico?

ITYM "Nena".

" He needs to buy eyeliner and sex toys as much as the next former Radio 2 presenter."

Now need brain bleach after thinking of Terry Wogan...

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Re: Nico?

And this is EXACTLY the sort of petty addiction to the so-called facts of this so-called UNI-verse that drags upon the tireless legs of ¡Bong!, our best post-profit prophet, as he tries to birth you in a cognitive Womb of your Own. In the multi-verse of infinite human potential there is a place where Nico sang until the walls of the Third Reich's own Jericho came tumbling down, just as there is one where round brackets on an accounting statement are there to contain the WIN WITHIN.

Boomshanka & peace forever!

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Re: Nico?

I think, in a very real sense, the bongster knows exactly what he means. After all, could we even have had Nena without Nico, the latter playing turtle to the former's universe surely?

If you can remember the eighties, bad luck. Mmmn, Terry, on a shopping trip with Steve Wright. They did well to decline DLT in retrospect...

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Re: Nico?

"If you can remember the eighties, bad luck."

I remember the eighties, sure. They weren't so bad. Of course, judging by your selection of TV personalities, I probably remember a different eighties to you. Mine were populated by Ronald Reagan, Dan Rather, and so on because I lived in the US for most of that decade. (One stand-out memory I have is of Dan Rather having run out of things to say about the Challenger disaster, but then continuing to talk about it anyway. When two large buildings fell down in 2001, I was by chance in the US, and I was struck by a certain similarity in the news coverage. *All* the channels on the hotel TV were covering the aftermath, and *all* of them were stuck in that same loop of needing to continue talking but having nothing new to say.)

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Joke

Russel Brand has been hitting the bong too much...

And the Bong strikes back.

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What? Tired and cynical?

I don't think Lord Bong of #businessmodel truly believes in the web-2.0-media-centric-data-driven-open-buzzword-driven-freedom-loving-startup-sellout culture any more.

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WTF?

"Costs are no longer tied to the ebb and flow of market revenue"

I'm lost. Can't remember when costs were tied to market revenue. I've read Bell's article. Still can't make sense of it. Well, the more you sell, the more (or more expensive) journalists you can afford (i.e. higher costs) at the same profit margin. But in which way tied?

Anyhow, I still believe one of the most accurate descriptions of journalism was given by Thompson: there is no objective journalism. (Referring to Bell's text.)

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Re: "Costs are no longer tied to the ebb and flow of market revenue"

Bell may be trying to say that in the modern newspaper world there are only ebbs of revenue.

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Re: "Costs are no longer tied to the ebb and flow of market revenue"

disgruntled yank,

Your summary doesn't quite match Bell's text but at least it totally makes sense!

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"there must be a deficit"

As of what Brand says (can't watch the video), I think he is right in the sense of profit-making in a capitalist system. Capitalism provides the opportunity to create wealth. The cost of this is, there are losers, too, i.e. those in the labour market with obsolete skills. That's why we have social benefits. Seems to work quite well (compared to other systems).

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Re: "there must be a deficit"

Why should profit being made by companies result in the downside of people not having up-to-date skills? I don't actually agree, but I'd like to hear your reasoning.

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Re: "there must be a deficit"

Pity that we elect governments that seem set on removing these benefits

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Re: "there must be a deficit"

I was probably a bit too brief. It's not profits that lead to deficits (one of which would be unemployment). It is the system that enables profit-making companies to exist that, as a downside, also enables deficits (deficit in a general meaning - don't know what Brand meant). Such deficits can be companies closing down, going bankrupt, laid off staff, unemployed people etc.

If you know of a sustainable economic system that allows for privat profits without any deficits please let me know, I'd be very curious to hear about that. So far, I believe with capitalism it's like what Churchill said about democracy...

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Cool,

So when am i going to get my money when the banks lost lots of cash and where taken over by the goverments?

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The point is people fit into a hierarchy of value production, which currently includes profit. Like businesses, we work to cover our costs and hope to have a bit left over at the end of the month with which we gain a degree of freedom from the hamster wheel. Profit doesn't sit around doing nothing, it is the surplus which provides financing for new enterprise. It is what provides us with freedom and control over our destiny. Without it you can't even change job without running into difficulty.

Brand is suggesting humanity should move to a system where we work entirely for the amorphous human collective and that this shift must correspond with a move to a higher plane of consciousness. There are certain practical features of the human condition he ignores.

Like during a depressurisation crisis on an airplane, we have to act for ourselves first and put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, even before we attend to the needs of our nearest and dearest, for the simple reason not doing so is more likely to result in the unconsciousness or even death of our children. This may be an ugly reality which doesn't fit with selfless view of of self identity as viewed from Gaia, but it is a harsh reality. Similarly, though we can seek to expand consciousness beyond a self interested viewpoint, still our consciousness is, during this life, tied to this flesh and blood I call my body and I have to feed it for it to survive. Like during a crisis on the airplane, self centred action is at some level logically and necessarily a primary and most fundamental activity. We ensure we can feed ourselves, our family then, when we are charitable, others. In the work we do there is a value stack, we work first for food, then clothing and warmth, then freedom, then security and comfort. Profit sits at the top, a target which if we can stretch to it, means we can be sure of attaining a degree of freedom and comfort above the hamster wheel. If we are balanced we seek to reach the top of the value stack without spending all our time on the hamster wheel, failing to live life on the way.

Brand is in effect suggesting profit should not be in the stack, but fails to identify how practically the boundaries in the stack are identified, who determines and enforces when the boundaries have been reached such that work for profit is avoided and our efforts redirected to the enhancement of Gaia. When profit is an abstract concept which appears to leave a deficit elsewhere on a giant double entry ledger, it can be made to appear a selfish thing. But when the top rung on a necessary value stack starting with the necessary, such as self-preservation by obtaining food and where the beginning and end of each layer is indistinct, then when the profit layer is reached can not so easily be judged by outsiders. How a central authority, governed by people, can structured and trusted to do the work of identifying when individuals have reached the profit layer, but without enslaving the people is not explained. Nor does Brand explain how getting to a higher plane of consciousness will remove our flesh and blood needs for food, warmth, shelter, and the love of a family and how the desire for these things remaining will not ever result in the petty jealousies and human competition to climb the value stack ladder. He doesn't have even a first stab at what the practical reality of governance in the higher plane of consciousness will consist in and how it can be essentially different from how we live now.

In other words he is spouting idealist dribble of the highest order. He's clever and a total idiot all at once. He's shaking his fist at life and self-interest and human nature and saying it shouldn't be, and look at me how nice I am as an idealist, but all the while is living a life of privilege, luxury and irresponsibility and exhorting us to follow him to his vision of paradise that can only, in reality, be a hell on earth.

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Anonymous Coward

attack the argument not the man

@SuccessCase - Yes, Brand isn't offering any solutions but that doesn't invalidate his observations or opinions. Neither does the fact he now has lots of money. His observations and opinions came first, the money came because people paid to hear them in his shows.

And, if I interpret Brand correctly, he is offering an opinion that broadly an overtly capitalist and profit driven society/economy is not working out so well for the majority of people who don't even have enough for basic survival, never mind the luxuries afforded from 'profit'. And while this majority spends all their waking hours scrabbling to just survive, they seldom have time or inclination to engage in the playground politics, ego inflation that our 'elected' whip-perpetuating politicians seem happy to waste our vote and money on. He thinks that is a bad thing and would like it to change.

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Re: attack the argument not the man

"broadly an overtly capitalist and profit driven society/economy is not working out so well for the majority of people who don't even have enough for basic survival, never mind the luxuries afforded from 'profit'"

The US and UK don't have capitalism any more, they've regressed to the next stage: corporatism.

"[Brand] thinks that our 'elected' whip-perpetuating politicians seem happy to waste our vote and money, He thinks that is a bad thing and would like it to change."

He thinks that, and a few million other less famous folks do too. Sad that none of the mainstream politicians (or even media pundits) in the Westminster reality distortion field are listening.

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Ad bominem

Normally I would agree that an ad hominem response would be childish, inappropiate and unhelpful. However, in the case of this particular gentleman, I am willing to make an exception. I will be brief.

If Brand did not exist, it would not be necesary to invent him.

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Anonymous Coward

> In other words he is spouting idealist dribble of the highest order. He's clever and a total idiot all at once. He's shaking his fist at life and self-interest and human nature and saying it shouldn't be, and look at me how nice I am as an idealist, but all the while is living a life of privilege, luxury and irresponsibility and exhorting us to follow him to his vision of paradise that can only, in reality, be a hell on earth.

Is he? I thought he was saying that party politics are thoroughly corrupt, that being a corporate welfare state isn't doing us much good, and that he doesn't know what the answer is, except that we should look for one rather than just watch X Factor.

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Brand's an idiot. A pseudo intellectual without a real understanding of how business works.

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Mushroom

Fair point, but...

>>Brand's an idiot. A pseudo intellectual without a real understanding of how business works.

Maybe so - but many of us would argue that business is an idiot which has no interest in how people or society work. Which is why business should not be allowed to dominate people and society in the way that it currently does, any more than Brand should be allowed to chair a merchant bank.

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When teenage scribblers comment on Russell's blandness

The mere mention of someone as insignificant as RB --- remember, we're nowhere near the Peter Cook league here --- is in itself puzzling enough.

But anyone confusing Nena with Nico must have been truly out of it at the time --- and, judging by the rest of the rant/article, I wonder whether the author still is ... or maybe he's just a glorious victim of all those wonderful educational reforms we've had since then. Which pretty much amounts to the same. O Register, why doest thou let thy standards sink so low?

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I would like to point out

Russel Brand has a networth of 15Million US dollars

That is all.

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Re: I would like to point out

Yeah, and Donald Trump has a net worth of $3.5B. but he's still a git with a stupid combover. Your point?

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Anonymous Coward

"because wherever there is profit there is also deficit"

Does he believe the economy is a zero-sum game? Supposedly it isn't, but my understanding of that is incomplete too.

And is this the Alex Jones I'm thinking of, in which case Brand is only going to hurt his own credibility more by association?

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Anonymous Coward

Science Fiction has, for many years, painted contrasting pictures of utopian and dystopian futures... and it seems fairly clear that the path we're currently on is firmly on it's way to a dystopian existence where mega corporations are in control and making a small proportion of the population very wealthy while the rest of us scrape by on meagre wages.

We need to find some way to derail this process before it goes too far, and steer the world towards a more utopian state whereby everyone is provided with adequate means to live.

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The general populace, unfortunately, doesn't seem to agree that perpetually rising and rather unnecessarily large profits are a bad thing when your average Joe who works for British Gas probably hasn't had a payrise in 3 years or more and can barely feed and clothe his family. (BBC quote re: big 6 energy companies: "Profits from the groups – which provide energy to 98 per cent of homes – rose from £2.15billion in 2009 to £2.22billion in 2010, £3.87billion in 2011 and £3.74billion in 2012.")

People are much more concerned with Mr. Brands employment history and other fascinating things like how many welfare 'cheats' there are in the country or who got knocked out of the Apprentice last week. I feel sorry for the generations who follow us into this dyspotian future. The balance of wealth being created right now is at an almost feudal level.

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Nobhead

Brand seems to be under the misapprehension that profit can only be gained by ripping someone else off so he'll get a U on his Economics for a start.

As for the idea that we should all be working for the benefit of a benign, central bureaucracy, whilst abandoning the pretense of democracy; err no ta mate.

Was he bunking off school when they did Animal Farm?

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Re: Nobhead

> Brand seems to be under the misapprehension that profit can only be gained by ripping someone else off so he'll get a U on his Economics for a start.

Whilst you seem to be under the misapprehension that we live in an efficient capitalist economy, rather than a welfare state for large corporations who use barrier to entry and regulatory capture to secure their place.

I'd rather listen to him than you.

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hypocrite

he has done corporate schill work for HP

http://www.webosnation.com/russeell-brand-shows-his-hp-touchpad-expertise-more-promo-videos

and disney

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2182405/Russell-Brand-channels-Captain-Hook-latest-star-shot-Annie-Leibovitz-Disney-Dream-portraits.html

nice friendly, non profit making companies, both of them.

he talks about companies destroying the earth, then bogs off to the US to make 3rd rate movies, then jets around the world to promote them. how does he get there? row? He could make crap films in the UK and not do the promotional tours and save loads of carbon. but its old mammon again waving a large cheque in your face.

ive personally not voted for a long time. firstly because I was living in such a safe seat it would make no difference, and then after labour was returned for the final time, I gave up. the general public are too stupid to understand the choices they are making either through pure dimness or being totally stuck in a polarised world that cannot accept that another party might have better ideas, stuck shouting 'toff' or 'red' at each other.

i will say one thing though, on facebook, the only people i know who have joined the 'brand for prime minister' type groups and share his updates are the *thickest* people I know.

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Facepalm

+1 ever so insightful

"he talks about a nicer and fairer world. but he has some money! that he got from corporations!! and he isnt living the amish life!!! obviously entirely nonsense qed. ps - anyone who disagrees with me is hopelessly retarded."

yeeeeessssss. thank you very much for that valuable addition to the discussion.

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Headmaster

eh?

Ninety Nine Red Balloons, Floating In The Summer Sky. (Thank you for that timeless classic, Nico!)

I remember the Nina Hagen version of this (the German version was my favourite) but was it really Nico's?

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>?

Re: eh?

Close but no cigar. Nina Hagen didn't release this, you're thinking of Nena, a German band who's singer was also known as Nena. But correct in that it was nothing to do with Nico.

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How in all that's holy, can you have a conversation like this without even mentioning "Communism" "Marxism" etc.?

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Easy. 'Communism', 'Marxism', 'Whateverism' are simply labels. labels, moreover, that carry a lot of associative bollocks with them.

For example, when a European uses the word 'Marxism', it generally relates to his/her understanding of Marx & Engels' principles and writings.

When an American uses the same term, it relates to his (usually) or her understanding that 'I don't know what it is, but it has something to do with raping my family, stealing my money and taking my gun away. Oh, and Barack Obama is one.'

It's best to drop the labels and talk about the clear and concise (or in the iBong's terms, drug addled and buzzword infested) ideas and principles you want to get across.

For example 'As a terminal cancer patient, would you support a health system that would give you at least a chance to survive long term' is different to 'that Socialistic Obamacare our Marxist president is trying to force us into - is it a piece of shit or what?', although they both relate to the same subject.

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Champagne socialists.

Every generation has their crop of these. I have very little time for them. Many a true word spoken in jest (vid circa 2:03) He is in the employ of the ruling elite, massaging away potential revolutionary ideas. The buffoon is made the most earnest face and voice of ideas which have gained traction recently amonst disenfranchised erstwhile capitalists, thereby eroding the credibility of such ideas for the wider populace. A most elegantly deployed weapon, (if in a somewhat inelegant guise this time round).

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Paris Hilton

It's a pretty sad joke when...

A recovering alcoholic/comedian, who has NOT built a company or produced a real product thinks he has the answer to the whole worlds problems. He produces nothing you can touch, feel with your hands, feed or shelter people with.

Something tells me this guy is suffering from an over abundance of self-importance and a relapse of some past LSD trip.

No wonder Katy Perry divorced him.

How about he get off his duff and build a company, which he can then pay all the employees...loads of cash and try to continue operating the company for even 5 years.

What a true twit.

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Re: It's a pretty sad joke when...

"He produces nothing you can touch, feel with your hands, feed or shelter people with."

So rather like a bank or a stock market commodities trader then?

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Re: It's a pretty sad joke when...

> A recovering alcoholic/comedian,

This has nothing to do with what he was saying.

> who has NOT built a company or produced a real produce

Or in your case an intelligible sentence. This has nothing to do with what he was saying.

> thinks he has the answer to the whole worlds problems.

Which he said explicitly that he does not.

> He produces nothing you can touch, feel with your hands, feed or shelter people with.

Neither do most people and frankly the 17th C was a drag. This also has nothing to do with what he was saying.

> Something tells me this guy is suffering from an over abundance of self-importance and a relapse of some past LSD trip.

That something might be your internal self of self-importance.

> No wonder Katy Perry divorced him.

This has nothing to do with what he was saying.

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+1 for mention of colour climix

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The Brand brand is very profitable right now...

RB's saying some stuff that's true, like poor people have no money and rich people have lots. That businesses are contributing to this situation while destroying the planet is also true.

But the way to solve it is fairer taxes and better regulation in the business world, as well as innovation that makes production more efficient.

What Russell is advocating is a complete mass drop-out. We did this already, in the 60's. It did exactly what Timmy Leary wanted it to. We rewrote our culture a little for the better. By the time the 90's came along, things like the Fairtrade brand and global warming awareness were the result.

We don't have the luxury of dropping out anymore.

Hey, I'm a full-on card-carrying hairy hippy and even I think he talks a lot of crap.

He seems to be doing well off it though, lots of coverage, lots of controversy; it's all good for selling tours, movies, and bookie-wookies...

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