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

Douglas Rushkoff. Penguin/Portfolio, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61723-017-2
This interesting, thoughtful dissection of the modern digital economy and its shortcomings starts off with a clarion call. Rushkoff, a digital futurist turned critic, believes the speed and scale of digital commerce and corporate expansion since the 1990s is a “growth trap” that could “derail not only the innovative capacity of our industries, but also the sustainability of our entire society.” He may be right, and he is cogent and clear about Silicon Valley’s accepted trajectory for startups: seek massive amounts of capital and win a monopoly position to dominate the competition. But Rushkoff’s critique—that the scale of digital economics is propelling modern capitalism into an unsustainable state—dwarfs his prescriptive remedies. The book’s calls for more peer-oriented companies, “inclusive capitalism,” and alternative models such as the mission-driven “benefit corporation,” seem inadequate to the challenge of replacing the system described here. Calling for a rejection of the winner-takes-all, zero-sum-game approach is a reasonable response to current economic developments, yet Rushkoff has done this in a way that is interesting without being truly compelling. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-14-313129-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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