You’ll have to smarten up to find a productive place in today’s economy.
The old 20th-century way of doing things that my baby boomer generation grew up in has gone the way of the buffalo.
You already know this, right?
I came across an instigating article on Seeking Alpha a few days ago. As I read John N. Mason’s piece about the “New” corporation, it struck me that he had put together some pretty important observations and statistics about this 21st-century economy and where we are headed with it.
My take on his presentation is that he is, obviously, writing about a 21st-century work environment in which using your brain will be more important than ever before, more important than acquiring the old hands-on skills that enabled folks to get ahead in times past.
Oh, the developing digital work of our present work scenario is still “hands-on.” But it seems the hands will be mostly on keyboards that electronically deliver commands and programs that will run, automatically, the nuts and bolts, the widgets and equipment that will perform most of the tasks that we humans used to do, back in the day.
This whole progression got seriously cranked up about 170 years ago with the Industrial Revolution. There was a time, for instance, when a man could get on a horse, start riding westward, and eventually make it from Boston to San Francisco.
Then along came the railroads and changed all that.
Then along came the automobiles and changed all that even more.
And then there was a time when a person would mail a letter from Boston to San Francisco. The Pony Express or Wells Fargo or somesuch would deliver the letter cross-country, and yes it would get to the west coast, but it took a while.
A long while.
Then along came the trains, to make that delivery happen in just a week or so.
Then came the planes to make the airmail delivery in a day or two.
Now the message, or an order, is delivered with the push of a few buttons on your computer, or a scan on barcode, along the way.
You know that’s a “hands-on” technology that is fundamentally, quicker, easier and better than the old way of many different sets of hands that set themselves to crank up machinery and maintain it and oil it and fuel it and guide it all the way to some faraway delivery point.
As those technology changes revolutionized transportation, so shall the coming tech changes revolutionize manufacturing and wholesaling and retailing and every other industry or business you can think of, including knowledge itself.
So if you want to prosper in this 21st-century, if you want to find a place in the scheme of things, if you want to “get ahead”. . .
Get with the program.
Literally, the programming.
And this is what, in my opinion, John Mason is hitting on when he elucidates the workings of intellectual capital, which is a high-falootin' way of saying:
Education is, and will be, worth more than ever before. Get one. Learn how to think outside the old box.
If not, hey, we’ll always need somebody to clean up the place, flip the burgers, run the cash registers while everybody else is booting up the world.
Back in the day we used to say money makes the world go around.
Not so any more. Now electrons make our developed world go around. Learn how to direct them, how to make them do whatever has to be done for profit, or for improving the world we inhabit.
Don’t just vegetate as a consumer. . . eating, drinking, watching shows, fake news and social media.
Be a producer. Make things happen for you and for those you love. Get out there and do it, make things happen. Life will be better.