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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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1

Introduction

What's Wrong With This Picture?

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terms
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notes

Rushkoff, D. (2017). Introduction. In Rushkoff, D. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity. Portfolio, pp. 1-8

3

There is something troubling about the way Google is impacting the world, but neither its buses nor the people in them are the core problem; they’re just the easy target. Google’s employees are not oblivious to the increasing poverty outside the bus windows on their way to work. If anything, such sights only make these workers cling to their jobs all the more desperately, leaving them less likely to question the deeper processes at play. They do want to become millionaires—but not so that they can live a life of luxury. In a country without a strong social safety net, workers are told that they have to become millionaires or else face penury as soon as they retire or, worse, get sick. [...]

deeper structural cause for this polarisation: the psychological effects reinforcing

—p.3 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago

There is something troubling about the way Google is impacting the world, but neither its buses nor the people in them are the core problem; they’re just the easy target. Google’s employees are not oblivious to the increasing poverty outside the bus windows on their way to work. If anything, such sights only make these workers cling to their jobs all the more desperately, leaving them less likely to question the deeper processes at play. They do want to become millionaires—but not so that they can live a life of luxury. In a country without a strong social safety net, workers are told that they have to become millionaires or else face penury as soon as they retire or, worse, get sick. [...]

deeper structural cause for this polarisation: the psychological effects reinforcing

—p.3 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago
4

We are caught in a growth trap. This is the problem with no name or face, the frustration so many feel. It is the logic driving the jobless recovery, the low-wage gig economy, the ruthlessness of Uber, and the privacy invasions of Facebook. It is the mechanism that undermines both businesses and investors, forcing them to compete against players with digitally inflated poker chips. It’s the pressure rendering CEOs powerless to prioritize the sustainability of their enterprises over the interests of impatient shareholders. It is the unidentified culprit behind the news headlines of economic crises from the Greek default to skyrocketing student debt. It is the force exacerbating wealth disparity, increasing the pay gap between employees and executives, and generating the power-law dynamics separating winners from losers. It is the black box extracting value from the stock market before human traders know what has happened, and the mindless momentum expanding the tech bubble to proportions dangerously too big to burst.

—p.4 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago

We are caught in a growth trap. This is the problem with no name or face, the frustration so many feel. It is the logic driving the jobless recovery, the low-wage gig economy, the ruthlessness of Uber, and the privacy invasions of Facebook. It is the mechanism that undermines both businesses and investors, forcing them to compete against players with digitally inflated poker chips. It’s the pressure rendering CEOs powerless to prioritize the sustainability of their enterprises over the interests of impatient shareholders. It is the unidentified culprit behind the news headlines of economic crises from the Greek default to skyrocketing student debt. It is the force exacerbating wealth disparity, increasing the pay gap between employees and executives, and generating the power-law dynamics separating winners from losers. It is the black box extracting value from the stock market before human traders know what has happened, and the mindless momentum expanding the tech bubble to proportions dangerously too big to burst.

—p.4 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago
4

[...] So each tech company must become as intrusive, extractive, divisive, time-consuming, wasteful, expensive, job killing, exploitative, and manipulative as the next one. As for their impatient shareholders, well, they are the likes of us: we are the ones holding these very stocks in our own 401(k) and college savings plans, counting on them to go up, and selling them if they don’t. None of this worked out as we thought it would, and we’re all frustrated by the results.

ok this is actually bullshit. how many people own substantial assets at all??? inequality in asset ownership is wild and this narrative conceals that fact

—p.4 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago

[...] So each tech company must become as intrusive, extractive, divisive, time-consuming, wasteful, expensive, job killing, exploitative, and manipulative as the next one. As for their impatient shareholders, well, they are the likes of us: we are the ones holding these very stocks in our own 401(k) and college savings plans, counting on them to go up, and selling them if they don’t. None of this worked out as we thought it would, and we’re all frustrated by the results.

ok this is actually bullshit. how many people own substantial assets at all??? inequality in asset ownership is wild and this narrative conceals that fact

—p.4 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago
7

[...] Companies with new technologies are free to disrupt almost any industry they choose—journalism, television, music, manufacturing—so long as they don’t disrupt the financial operating system churning beneath it all. Hell, most of the founders of these digital companies don’t seem to realize this operating system even exists. They are happy to challenge one “vertical” or another, but the last thing they do when they’ve got a winner is challenge the rules of investment banking, their own astronomical valuation, or the IPO through which they cash out. Winning the digital growth game is less a new sort of prosperity than it is a new way to execute business as usual: old wine in a new bottle. It’s not that making money is so wrong; it’s that the premises of venture capital and the stock market—as well as their real effects—are never even questioned. The winners have, in some fundamental way, been duped.

ahh i love this

—p.7 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago

[...] Companies with new technologies are free to disrupt almost any industry they choose—journalism, television, music, manufacturing—so long as they don’t disrupt the financial operating system churning beneath it all. Hell, most of the founders of these digital companies don’t seem to realize this operating system even exists. They are happy to challenge one “vertical” or another, but the last thing they do when they’ve got a winner is challenge the rules of investment banking, their own astronomical valuation, or the IPO through which they cash out. Winning the digital growth game is less a new sort of prosperity than it is a new way to execute business as usual: old wine in a new bottle. It’s not that making money is so wrong; it’s that the premises of venture capital and the stock market—as well as their real effects—are never even questioned. The winners have, in some fundamental way, been duped.

ahh i love this

—p.7 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago
9

This disproportionate relationship between capital and value—or invested money versus actual revenue—is the hallmark of the dominant digital economy. If anything, the digital economy has laid bare the process by which cash, labor, and productive assets from the real, transactional marketplace are extracted and converted into frozen capital—all in the name of growth. Once money has been “captured” in a stock price, it tends to just sit there as if in a bank vault. This, in turn, puts pressure on the company to make more money, faster, in order to justify the new total value of all the stock. The disparity between a company’s net worth and its revenues gets even more extreme. Strangely enough, the companies do keep growing, but they don’t create or produce any value.

i really like how he nails the way the digital world just accelerates/reveals how the economy operates. need to come up with a variety of ways to refer to this

—p.9 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago

This disproportionate relationship between capital and value—or invested money versus actual revenue—is the hallmark of the dominant digital economy. If anything, the digital economy has laid bare the process by which cash, labor, and productive assets from the real, transactional marketplace are extracted and converted into frozen capital—all in the name of growth. Once money has been “captured” in a stock price, it tends to just sit there as if in a bank vault. This, in turn, puts pressure on the company to make more money, faster, in order to justify the new total value of all the stock. The disparity between a company’s net worth and its revenues gets even more extreme. Strangely enough, the companies do keep growing, but they don’t create or produce any value.

i really like how he nails the way the digital world just accelerates/reveals how the economy operates. need to come up with a variety of ways to refer to this

—p.9 by Douglas Rushkoff 2 years, 3 months ago