4 5 Reading Activities A Read the story. Rescue A Answer these questions. (Answer in sentence form where possible.) 1. Because the water is flowing swiftly. Because there was a waterfall that way. An intro level text covering the basics of reasoning and argumentation, including some basic formal logic, and targeted at beginning undergraduates. I wrote it for a course I teach at Lansing Community College that covers both logic and critical. I found Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus compelling reading, with well-articulated and researched points. It's a lot to take on the 'system' and provide guidance towards fixing it, but Rushkoff manages to pull it off admirably well for such a compact (.
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Douglas Rushkoff traces the phenomenon of growth as a necessary element of a modern economy back to the establishment of corporations and central currencies as instruments designed to extract value from local economies and deliver it to an investor class at which point value is converted into capital. Originally a means for the aristocracy to reassert itself against a rising middle class and markets,and to become the investors in those markets (at the price of interest on loans and payment for central currencies), the system functioned for as long as there was sufficient friction in market economies to obstruct the efficiency of value extraction by the investor class. The rise of a digital economy is succeeding in reducing friction to the point where value is being extracted at a rate which is now impoverishing even corporations whose profits are increasingly accumulating in capital held by shareholders and not in assets held by them. At the root of the problem is the the necessity of growth required to finance and re-finance systemic and ever-increasing debt which is exacerbated by the rise of a digitized financial sector operating like a massive video game engaged in post-human algorithmic warfare to extract value from every transaction, autonomously gaming every move to create new, novel, incremental opportunities for gain. Nonetheless, Rushkoff sees opportunity in the rise of a digital sensibility, in that the economy and the power structures it has engendered lend themselves to a new kind of analysis through the eyes of 'coders' accustomed to analyzing, redesigning and debugging complex systems and networks. Rushkoff examines alternatives to the current knowledge economy with its market-driven tendencies towards monopolies and limited alternatives in a technological environment eminently capable of delivering plenitude, variety and peer-to-peer goods and services. All in all, a thorough, well-written dissemination of a complex subject dealt with historically, socially, technically and aesthetically with a minimum of political or ideological commentary, rendering it accessible to anyone interested in these issues.
For the past few years, Google buses have provided a convenient symbol for the downside of the digital economy. But as Douglas Rushkoff writes in his nuanced book, “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity,” “Neither its buses nor the people in them are the core problem.” Instead, Rushkoff optimistically argues, “If we can get over our addiction to growth, we have the potential to move toward a much more functional, even compassionate economic system that favors money flow over accumulation and rewards people for creating value instead of simply extracting it.” Rushkoff will explain his philosophy at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Commonwealth Club, at 555 Post St., S.F.
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— John McMurtrie