Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity

by Douglas Rushkoff


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Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

Why doesn’t the explosive growth of companies like Facebook and Uber deliver more prosperity for everyone?
What is the systemic problem that sets the rich against the poor and the technologists against everybody else?

When protesters shattered the windows of a bus carrying Google employees to work, their anger may have been justifiable, but it was misdirected. The true conflict of our age isn’t between the unem­ployed and the digital elite, or even the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Rather, a tornado of technological improvements has spun our economic program out of control, and humanity as a whole—the protesters and the Google employees as well as the shareholders and the executives—are all trapped by the consequences. It’s time to optimize our economy for the human beings it’s supposed to be serving.
In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed media scholar and author Douglas Rushkoff tells us how to combine the best of human nature with the best of modern technology. Tying together disparate threads—big data, the rise of robots and AI, the increasing participation of algorithms in stock market trading, the gig economy, the collapse of the eurozone—Rushkoff provides a critical vocabulary for our economic moment and a nuanced portrait of humans and commerce at a critical crossroads.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617230172
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Douglas Rushkoff is the bestselling author of Present Shock, as well as a dozen other books on media, technology, and culture, including Program or Be Programmed and Life Inc. Named one of the world’s ten most influential thinkers by MIT, he has made documentaries for PBS Frontline, including Generation Like and The Merchants of Cool, and he is a professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens College, CUNY. He lives in New York and lectures about media, society, and economics around the world.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: What's Wrong with This Picture? 1

Chapter 1 Removing Humans from the Equation 13

Digital Industrialism 13

Mass Mass Mass 16

The Digital Marketplace: Winner Takes All 24

The Economy of Likes 30

The Big Data Play 39

Sharing Economics: Getting Humans Back "on the Books" 44

The Unemployment Solution 54

Chapter 2 The Growth Trap 68

Corporations Are Programs 68

The Platform Monopoly 82

Recoding the Corporation 93

The Steady-State Enterprise 97

Chapter 3 The Speed of Money 124

Coin of the Realm 124

Reprogramming Money-Bank Vaults to Blockchains 138

Money Is a Verb 151

Chapter 4 Investing Without Exiting 168

Finance Is Nothing Personal 168

Do Algorithms Dream of Digital Derivatives? 178

Investment Gamified: The Startup 184

Ventureless Capital: The Patience of Crowds 196

Fully Invested-Factors Beyond Capital 206

Chapter 5 Distributed 224

Digital Distributism 224

Renaissance Now? 232

Acknowledgments 241

Appendix 245

Notes 247

Selected Bibliography 263

Index 267

Community Action Guide 279

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