Embrace The Boundaries

Without boundaries there is no freedom. Unlimited choice is no choice.

In terms of investing and the digital economy, boundlessness makes prosperity impossible, since the only acceptable outcome is more growth. This is Doug Rushkoff’s  contention in the “Bounded Investing” section at the end of Throwing Rocks at The Google Bus, a numbered list of constructive proposals the book makes about how to make life better in the digital era.

Rushkoff is championing investments in enterprises close to where you live, but also enterprises that work on things you care about. “Boundaries don’t have to be solely geographically defined,” he says. “They simply have to define a mutually supportive range of businesses.

Your target could be the business sector in which you work, such as design services, equipment, and Web sites. Or your pool could be the various constituencies in biodiesel manufacturing, comic-book publishing, or natural health care. As long as there’s a network of business that support one another, the boundaries make sense.

This seems to me to be a playing field on which churches–congregations as well as regional and national councils–have a distinct advantage. The local church is geographically bounded. It ought to know more than any institution in town about the kinds of investments that are needed: healthy restaurants? A grocery store? A school? I’m sure there are congregations out there that are modeling this kind of bounded investment in their neighborhoods to make them stronger.

Denominations, for their part, can make investments of their still-considerable resources based on their values. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is working on “Transformational Investing” in places like Israel/Palestine. “Beyond a simple monetary return,” says the website of the Presbyterian Foundation, “The outcome being sought is transformation – hope in place of fear, peace in place of violence, empowerment in place of injustice, changed lives, changed circumstances.”

Boundaries are our allies in changing the world.

This is another post on Douglas Rushkoff’s new book, Throwing Rocks at The Google Bus: How Growth Became The Enemy of ProsperityRead more posts on the book here. Throw yourself headlong into the Rushkoff rabbit hole here.

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