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Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity (Anglais) Relié – 1 mars 2016
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
—WALTER ISAACSON, president and CEO, The Aspen Institute, and author of The Innovators
“If you don’t know Rushkoff, you’re not serious about figuring out what’s going to happen next.”
—SETH GODIN, author of Linchpin
“Thoughtful, provocative, and essential reading for our economic moment.”
—JOI ITO, director, MIT Media Lab
“We’ve optimized for growth. But have we lost our way? As an economy? As a community? As a society with a value proposition that doesn’t make sense on a human or economic level? Rushkoff asks questions that matter. A challenging and necessary read.”
—SHERRY TURKLE, author of Reclaiming Conversation
“Every great advance begins when someone sees that what everyone else takes for granted may not actually be true. Douglas Rushkoff questions the deepest assumptions of the modern economy and blazes a path toward a more human-centered world.”
—TIM O’REILLY, founder, O’Reilly Media
“Douglas Rushkoff is a true digital visionary. Read this rousing call to reboot our society from the bottom up before it’s too late.”
—ASTRA TAYLOR, filmmaker and author of The People’s Platform
“In what could be seen as a crisis, Rushkoff shares his smart, optimistic, and pragmatic perspective about how both businesses and consumers can reimagine today’s current economic operating system in the digital age—and prosper.”
—BONIN BOUGH, chief media and e-commerce officer, Mondelēz
“Powerful truth telling… The crux of the argument that Rushkoff makes is that the digital economy is a house of cards built on fictional growth metrics that drive companies to raise money, undercut human workers, sell on the public markets and then—almost inevitably—collapse under the weight of public market demands.”
“A brilliant, bomb-hurling critique of the flaws in our digital economy, identifying what has gone wrong and what can be done about it.”
“A powerful exposé of an underdiscussed downside to the digital revolution.”
Présentation de l'éditeur
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.
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Last accessed on Tuesday July 24, 2018
I truly enjoyed this book, although in the beginning I didn’t think I would. Rushkoff focuses on what he calls “extractive capitalism” especially near- monopolies who use their power to grow incessantly (Reminds me of Amazon). This analogy to mining seemed right for many industries but raises some doubts in my mind about many service industries where service is really important. Planned parenthood certainly strives to grow, but there is no doubt that they provide a valuable service that many states already have curtailed beyond reason. But even Amazon was brilliant in its cloud strategy and devices like the Kindle and Alexa really improve the world. Even Google is transforming advertising dollars into self driving cars. Yes, this may become an 8 Trillion dollar industry but it will also reduce accidents dramatically, destroy the wasteful insurance industry, and reduce the demand for roads and gasoline. Rushkoff spends a good deal of his time denouncing the financial derivatives industry, but they too will automate finance in ways that will allow everyone to shares in productivity.
The best part of Rushkoff’s analysis came out in his analysis of gigacompanies/unicorns and venture capital’s role in directing companies into gigantic payouts. Here he says: “
“That’s why those firms usually demand a seat on the board of directors, from which they can steer company policy away from moderately successful outcomes and toward winner-takes-all conclusions. Most venture capitalists would rather drive a company into the ground than let it settle in as a sustainable operation. A s long as there is a chance, however small, for a company to become a billion-dollar supersuccess, the investor would rather push on. This means abandoning even surefire profit models if they aren’t going to generate the outlandish returns required by the venture capitalist’s overall portfolio strategy. He or she would prefer to let the company die, squeezing out every possible megawin, than let it carry on as a moderately successful enterprise. Without a major exit through acquisition or IPO, it is worthless on the level that venture capitalists are playing the game.”
This has the ring of truth.
As he says: “ Growth is the single, uncontested, core command of the digital economy.”
Growth is much too important in our economy. We should focus much more on happiness, love, grace, care, and equality. Growth is too easily transformed into greed and lust for power. We need to balance it with fairness and a safety net for everyone: medical care for all, food and leisure for all. As I was sitting on the toilet today I heard a woman say she could not afford a home for her children. This is a travesty. How could we have billionaires who drop a billion for a yacht when children are not being given the essentials! It just makes no sense.
He deals reasonably well with automation and jobs: quoting McAfee and Brynjolfsson, he explains. “Productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs”. What he fails to explain is that the disruption will be enormous, but there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If we do things right, we will have Eden. If things go wrong, there will be a crushing dystopia with the wealthy elites in Nirvana and the rest of us dead.
He has a great quote from Mill, but he does not seem to take it to heart: “Instead, Mill saw the end of growth concluding in what he called the “stationary state”—a sustainable equilibrium in which there would be “a well-paid and affluent body of labourers; no enormous fortunes, except what were earned and accumulated during a single lifetime; but a much larger body of persons than at present, not only exempt from the coarser toils, but with sufficient leisure, both physical and mental, from mechanical details, to cultivate freely the graces of life.”
I take this to be a recognition that the need for labor will end; and in fact automation is bringing that to reality. However, our understanding of the value of human life has to shift, so that we value life on its own, not as work but as living. It is not clear that the elites have the empathy to do that, if our current crop of billionaires like Trump, Kochs, and their ilk are to be understood. But under their megalomania is the spark of empathy, as Gates, Buffet, and others demonstrate. Who will win?
63. Matt Bruenig, “This One Weird Trick Actually Cuts Child Poverty in Half,” demos.org, July 21, 2014.
65. Anthony B. Atkinson, Inequality: What Can Be Done? (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015).
18. Beth Ann Bovino et al., “How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening Economic Growth, and Possible Ways to Change the Tide,” globalcreditreport.com, August 5, 2014.
John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1909), IV.6.2.
I had a friend/coworker at Google in 2013 who arrived at work one morning a little upset when her Google bus had been stopped by demonstrators. This bit of history is the lead off for this book but for me the most valuable part of the book was understanding how centralized powers extract value from local producers, and how historically this started at the end of the Dark Ages.