Why You Feel More Productive But the Economy Isn’t

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People blocking an Apple bus hold google maps style eviction markers as a Google bus passes on Valencia St on December 9, 2013.

You, friend, are productive. You work at all hours of the day and well into the night. Thank goodness for the email app on your phone that allows you to check in and schedule meetings and book conference rooms and passive-aggressively forward whenever you need to. Even Facebook has entered the "be social at work" vertical, for "companies who get things done." You and your friends and your teammates are building, building, building enterprises that must disrupt and must multiply and – most important of all – grow.

It's exciting and it's exhausting. The catch: there might not be any more resources to exhaust.

On this election-season edition of Note to Self, author Douglas Rushkoff ("Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus") joins Manoush to pose a big, hairy question: what does all of this new technology, wealth, and productivity have to do with serious income inequality? What are the larger social implications of an economy built on venture capital? Why has all of this "growth" made us feel less financially secure? 

More information about some of the companies mentioned in this episode:

  • Juno, a driver-owned competitor to Uber. (FastCompany)
  • IndieBound, a community of independent bookstores.
  • WinCo, an employee-owned grocery store often compared to Walmart. (Time)
  • Kickstarter's CEO, Yancey Strickler, made the decision to become a public benefit corporation (PBC) to mitigate obligations to shareholders. (The Guardian)

If you're still weighing your politics on this, our friends at Planet Money made this useful chart with economists' insights into each candidate's economic proposals.

If you're interested in more of the mechanisms of tech-world economics, you might also enjoy our past episodes on the attention economy, the burgeoning field of user experience, and shaking up your social media-enabled echo chamber.

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Music Playlist

  1. Neon Washed

    Artist: Hayley Briasco
    Label: BWN Music
  2. Legend Instrumental

    Artist: Erick Anderson
    Label: BWN Music
  3. Dreamin Long (Instrumental)

    Artist: Erick Anderson
    Label: BWN Music