Inside the temples of true believers, ardent faith has a way of
prevailing. And so, in the Dot-Com year of 2000, vast numbers of followers
seem eager to fulfill a sacred digital future.
Implicit and largely unspoken, the virtual Ten Commandments of Dot-Comity
are now widespread:
* You shall have no other gods before media synergy.
* You shall not bow to any image above those of the profits. Technology
and venture capital are marvels that turn the Internet into a cosmic
pathway for the commerce of life.
* You shall not take the name of the Lord your Market in vain. It has
little use for those who squander opportunity. It will not hold guiltless
those who fail to appreciate Its transformative powers.
* Remember the stock exchange and keep it holy. You may pause and reflect
on the meaning of your labor, but for the long days and during after-hours
trading -- with the help of cable TV networks and online brokerage firms as
well as some of the hottest investment websites around -- the Lord your
Market blesses every breath you take and hallows it, especially when
* Honor your father and mother, for they made possible a balanced
portfolio, taking into account the strengths of blue chips and Nasdaq, with
careful attention to the most auspicious high-tech initial public offerings.
* You shall not fail to make a killing, within the constraints of mortal
fallibility, which must be reduced to aggregate the momentum of digital
technologies and the markets. In the Canaan of the Web, you shall revere
those who develop software to let there be cyberlight, making new fiduciary
horizons dawn and rendering mere human form secondary.
* You shall not adulterate the potential of Dot-Comity to raise our eyes
to the heavens of capital formation, IPOs and long-term advancement of New
* You shall not steal. Above all, entrepreneurial fortunes depend on
respect for intellectual property rights.
* You shall not unduly cut corners for temporary advantage, lest you
undermine the Dot-Com faith that rockets the blessed of us to seven figures
and beyond. You should participate in all manner of fascination with
interfaces between the technical and the financial, subjecting them to
interminable media discourse, while bypassing qualitative evaluation of
"content" and thus minimizing public debate about the cultural and
political messages most widely promoted by centralized New Media power.
* You shall not covet the trademarked, copyrighted, patented or encrypted
products of competitors, but you shall be free to attempt capture of
fabulous wealth available to a small percentage of adherents. Take full
advantage of the Internet and satellite technology that was massively
subsidized by the federal government decades ago, but do not hesitate to
claim that the Lord your Market has made it all possible and therefore the
private sector deserves all its divine profits, and more, if only
government would get out of the way.
The virtual commandments need not be belabored or even mentioned; they are
mainly internalized by the faithful. Every month, hundreds of hours on
national television and many large vats of ink go to prayerful meditations
on how to better understand and analyze the Lord our Market, seeking to
assess Its will to be done. Sanctified by an inexhaustible fountain of
media reports and discussions, the Lord our Market reaches new and
transcendent levels, nearing the iridescent light to shine on the human
Some fundamentalist believers in Dot-Comity insist that the literal words
of the Lord their Market include this admonition: "As for others who fail
utterly in the glorious quest for rich holiness of the techno-age, you
shall not be distracted by their misfortune nor attempt significant aid.
For I, the Lord your Market, am a zealous god, smiting each generation with
inequities that favor the best and lay low those who cannot glorify the
Lord their Market. This need not bother the followers who embrace me and
with steadfast devotion keep my commandments."
Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist. His books include "The Trouble
With Dilbert: How Corporate Culture Gets the Last Laugh."