The most remarkable thing about Douglas Rushkoff’s new book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, is not its diagnosis of the problems of our current society, eye-opening and insightful as it is, so much as that for every problem he highlights, Rushkoff points out practical solutions and next steps. Most books of this sort are 90% diagnosis with a hopeful prayer at the end. Rushkoff sees the way forward to a local, circular economy, where money stays in a community and helps us build a more human-centered society.
— Tim O’Reilly
The mantra for the digital economy should be “make your users rich.” If you promote their prosperity, you’ll have a thriving marketplace. If you extract all the value, you’ll have nothing.
The economy we’re operating in today may have been built to serve corporations, but not many of them are doing too well in the digital environment. Even the apparent winners are actually operating on borrowed time and, perhaps more to the point, borrowed money.
Incapable of raising the top line through organic growth, corporations turn to managerial and financial tricks to please shareholders. More often than not, this means that the corporation must cannibalize itself to deliver higher share prices or dividends.
CEOs of sustainable companies need to communicate honestly with their shareholders about the firms’ prospects—and the virtues of holding on to shares. Dividends and the stability of returns ought to replace share price as the measure of the company’s value over time.
Douglas Rushkoff is author of 15 best-selling books on media, technology, and culture, including Program or Be Programmed, Present Shock, and most recently Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. Douglas made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, Merchants of Cool, and The Persuaders, wrote the graphic novels ADD and Testament, and originated concepts from “viral media” to “social currency.” He’s currently professor of media theory and digital economics at CUNY’s Queens College and lectures around the world about media, society, and change. Douglas won the Marshall McLuhan Award for his book Coercion and the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. He is also founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism and a research fellow for the Institute for the Future.
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