We talk with author and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who has published 10 books on media, culture, and technology. He joins us to discuss his most recent work, Present Shock, about living in today’s immediate, always-on world.
In this video segment Douglas discusses the decline in asset profitability for U.S. firms over the past 40 years, and why he doesn’t see corporations like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) as Digital Age companies. The full version of the interview can be found here.
A full transcript follows the video.
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Brendan Byrnes: I wanted to ask you about a few examples in the book. One thing you cite is a Deloitte study that says asset profitability for U.S. firms over the past 40 years has steadily fallen by 75%. In the book you say corporations have successfully accumulated most of the financial resources out there. They don’t know how to reinvest it to make more.
Why is this, and what do you think has happened over those 40 years, considering it’s still been a pretty good 40 years for the stock market — S&P going from around 100 to over 1,600 now — where does this go in the future, and how has that happened over the past 40 years?
Douglas Rushkoff: Really what we’re saying is that corporate profitability, as a portion of net worth, has been going down. Even if they’re still making money, their ability to make money with their assets has been going down, really 60-70 years. This was even before the Internet.