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060 Douglas Rushkoff: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

Our economy is broken, and the “innovations” of Silicon Valley are making it worse. We need a new economic operating system.

Douglas Rushkoff: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus


Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus is a critique of the modern economic system, and the role that Silicon Valley and the tech industry play in perpetuating its flaws. Author Douglas Rushkoff argues that the digital economy is driving inequality, and that we need to rethink the way we approach work, ownership, and innovation. He proposes a new economic operating system, one that values sustainability, resilience, and shared prosperity over growth at all costs.


Title: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

Author: Douglas Rushkoff

Year of publication: 2016

Publisher: Portfolio

Length in hours: 9 hours and 15 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Our current economic system is designed for short-term gains and maximum efficiency, not long-term sustainability or resilience.
  2. The digital economy has led to the rise of monopolies and winner-takes-all markets, exacerbating inequality and concentrating wealth in the hands of a few.
  3. The promise of technological innovation has not delivered on its potential to create a better world, because it is driven by profit-seeking rather than social good.
  4. The solution is not to abandon technology, but to create a new economic operating system that values different things: community, sustainability, and shared prosperity.
  5. We need to take action now, by supporting alternative economic models, pushing for regulatory reform, and challenging the status quo.
Douglas Rushkoff: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

5 funny quotes

  1. "What’s the difference between a London hedge-fund manager and a London bus? A London bus has more frequent stops."
  2. "Most companies in Silicon Valley are run by people with the mentality of teenagers. They believe they’re immortal and that rules don’t apply to them."
  3. "We need to remind ourselves that what we call progress is only a set of priorities imposed upon us by those with the power to do so."
  4. "The value of an Uber car is not in the rubber on the wheels, but in the data that can be extracted from the drivers and passengers who use it."
  5. "We need to find a way to design a more functional social compact, and do so before Facebook figures it out for us."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The trouble with the future is that it never seems to arrive. At least not in the way we thought it would.”
  2. "The ultimate growth industry is no longer the product of things, but the manipulation of our behavior."
  3. "Innovation doesn't have to mean 'disruptive.' It can mean 'evolutionary.'"
  4. "If our economy is geared towards infinite growth, what happens when we reach the limits of the planet?"
  5. "We have enough technology to feed, clothe, and shelter everyone on the planet. What we don't have is the economic system to make it happen."

5 dilemmas

  1. How do we balance the need for innovation and progress with the need for social responsibility and human values?
  2. How do we ensure that technology is used for the benefit of all, and not just a few powerful individuals or corporations?
  3. How do we address the increasing income inequality and job displacement caused by technology and automation?
  4. How do we prevent the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few dominant tech companies?
  5. How do we protect personal privacy and data security in a world where data is the new currency?

5 examples

  1. Uber - A platform that exploits drivers, with a value of over $60 billion.
  2. Airbnb - A platform that has disrupted rental markets and made it difficult for renters to find affordable housing.
  3. Facebook - A platform that has allowed the spread of fake news and has been criticized for its handling of user data.
  4. Google - A company that has a monopoly on search and advertising, and has been accused of anti-competitive behavior.
  5. Amazon - A company that has disrupted the retail industry and has been criticized for its treatment of workers.

Referenced books

  1. "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" by Shoshana Zuboff
  2. "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" by David Graeber
  3. "The Social Contract" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  4. "Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered" by E.F. Schumacher
  5. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries

Share a quote

"Innovation doesn't have to mean 'disruptive.' It can mean 'evolutionary.'"

Douglas Rushkoff: Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus
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