"[Eddie] Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. If the company’s leaders were told to act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational manner, boosting overall performance.
Instead, the divisions turned against each other—and Sears and Kmart, the overarching brands, suffered."
"And the reason privacy is so critical is because it’s only when we know we’re not being watched that we can engage in creativity, or dissent, or pushing the boundaries of what’s deemed acceptable. A society in which people feel like they’re always being watched is one that breeds conformity, because people will avoid doing anything that can prompt judgment or condemnation. This is a crucial part of why a surveillance state is so damaging — it’s why all tyrannies know that watching people is the key to keeping them in line. Because only when you’re not being watched can you really be a free individual."
"The derivatives exchange bought the New York Stock Exchange. So the New York Stock Exchange was purchased by its own abstraction. And the New York Stock Exchange was already an abstraction of commerce. Which was already an abstraction of culture. So what’s happening is we’re creating new and greater and better and more abstract abstractions in order to squish more time into this teeny little thing. Because what are we doing? What’s the real story here? We’re trying to extend the obsolete agendas of the industrial age into the digital age."