Throwing Rocks at the Googl...
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus
How growth became the enemy of prosperity
5 years ago
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Doug Rushkoff's new book sounds fascinating, given
he wrote for the Pacific Standard. He presents a compelling retelling of the development of the Industrial Era, and how the internet is really bringing the assumptions built into that economic model to their logical conclusion:
As we wrestle with the bounty of productivity as well as the displacement of employees by digital technologies, we may consider the greater operating system on which they’re all running. If we do, we may come to see that the values of the industrial economy are not failing under the pressures of digital technology. Rather, digital technology is expressing and amplifying the embedded values of industrialism.
VP Product Development, Unlock
When considered together with recent essays by Paul Graham and Mark Suster, among others, it's hard to ignore a growing uneasiness about the Internet economy's effect on society at large. I think these are important questions, not just for those of us who work on the Internet, but for everyone touched by its products and business practices. I have huge respect for Douglas; I've preordered this, and I'm really looking forward to reading it when it comes out.
There's a lot of great thinking happening these days about our "economic operating system" - recent books like Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams' Inventing the Future, or Paul Mason's Postcapitalism, are both skeptical of capitalist accumulation and optimistic about technology's role in creating what they'd like to see next. I'm excited to see Rushkoff's take extended into book length.
Rushkoff is the guy who enjoys a sunny day while wondering if the local flood control systems are ready for a deluge. So he brings you into conversation about the social impact of how people use technology, of how that tech and our uses affect our institutions. He'll surface our old ethical views and uncover our moral conflicts. And he'll interview the folks who are living most directly with the consequences of this change. I personally find Rushkoff's books and talks annoying on two counts. First, while I always appreciate his problem exploration and identification, I rarely agree wholeheartedly with his prescriptions. And who wants to look too closely at the dark underbelly of a trend that's seems so hopeful? Reality checks can be ice cold. But his inquiry is necessary, especially now. We're better for it. P.S. Now I'm waiting for the sequel: "How To Throw Rocks At Google Buses".