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Douglas Rushkoff Talks Tech, the Digital Economy, and the Growth … – Village Voice


“[W]e have set in place an economic system whose growth works against our own prosperity,” writes Douglas Rushkoff in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity. In the book, Rushkoff, whose previous works include Present Shock and Program or Be Programmed, maps out the failings of our digital economy. Our never-ending hunger for economic growth has become untenable, he argues, and we need to embrace a more distributed approach to growth and social justice, one that reflects the digital technologies that pervade our lives. The Voice caught up with the New York–based writer and professor at Queens College after he gave a talk at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Early on in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, you write about how early internet users like yourself believed the digital marketplace was going to look something like the Burning Man festival—that is, a sort of equally distributed bazaar. Could you talk a little bit about why this didn’t happen?

It started out that way to some extent because we created things like freeware and shareware. We were making stuff and just letting other people have it. Compensation was usually voluntary. We were building things because we were excited to see other people use them. And what partly happened is the parents of hackers and developers, they would look at us as losers. Like we were just Dungeons & Dragons, video game kids. We were living on pizza, hanging out in garages, and we were…



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