The Internet Broke the Economy

I've noticed that I started to think that every blog post I write must be a fantastic piece of prose. Articles that don't meet the 600+ word count don't meet the cut. Yea… I've been drinking too much of my own coolaid. Back to the shorter, more frequent posting for me. I suspect that it's more valuable in the long run.

Douglas Rushkoff of NYU has completely blown my mind. It's not often that one finds a completely, world-upside-down, mind-altering … anything. But this is it. The thesis: The internet has turned the world on it’s head because because it destroys the traditional definition of economy: “rational actors maximizing their value through the acquisition/distribution of scarce resources.” The Internet has: • “irrational people” This makes sense if viewed through the lens of wikipedia: who in their rational mind would give information and time away for free? However, generally speaking, the Internet doesn't lead to irrationality. • “having fun” Again: look through the lens of youtube and this is true. You have many people creating content just because it's fun. But in general, people still want to maximize value. Internet shopping works in part because people can find better deals and they don't have to pay sales tax. • with resources that are not scarce. The Internet has taken the most valuable resource (“knowledge is power”) and made it infinite. Want to find out about something? Go online. The Google machine will find it for you… for free.

The Mass Media was created by Mass Production

Another interesting point Rushkoff makes: Mass producing → Mass Marketing → Mass Media. Therefore, mass media is the top of the food chain.

The prevalence of products from an unknown company, as opposed to the guy in your town who you've know all your life, means that these companies had to instill consumer trust. Mass marketing was created to deal with this demand, but they need the mass media to spread the message. This makes me think that the mass media must continue to exist to provide this service. That is, if we assume that mass production is a good idea — not a given after you're done listening to Rushkoff.

Questions raised

What is the difference between an Economy and and Ecology?

If information is infinite, and therefore, free, what is the incentive for producing it? Are regulators trying to regulate companies that have “already left the metaphorical building?”

The Internet Broke the Economy

Joey Baker


I write code most days. Prevously: photojournalist, EMT. Somewhat obsessed with jouralism.