The New World Order
Perhaps it’s time you stopped, took a moment, and looked around to recognise the paradigm shift that is occurring all around you. If you can’t yet feel the winds of change on your face maybe you are witnessing the calm before the storm or the manic panic upon the realisation that the rules of engagement have been altered. The world is changing; the internet has enabled a democratisation of employment on an unprecedented scale never experienced before in human history. The new world order is a post-industrial uprising, it is the entrepreneurial revolution/generation and it is the dawn of a post-capitalist world. Unconvinced? Step through the looking glass and gaze at what’s already happening …
My cognisance of these theories hasn’t occurred overnight. They have instead grown over time upon recognition of certain patterns and trends across specific demographics. Breaking free from the shackles of belief that standardised capitalism and employment are the most reliable and sensible way of life isn’t easy. We have been programmed to believe that it is insane to do anything else.
Perception of reality viewed through the lens of historical precedent distorts the truth. We live the way we have been led to believe is most conducive to future prosperity, which is true but it’s not our own. In this post I’ll touch on the 5 reasons that have led me to believe everything is going to change.
1 — Employment is Broken.
Do you like your job or did you ever like it? Increasingly I’m experiencing a growing feeling of discontent among my friends, family and network connections relating to their displeasure of how they are treated, like cogs in a great machine of mutual disbenefit. They want to change but have dependants, bills and commitments that continued employment allows them to meet. So they unhappily remain. Some though have stopped accepting this as a universal truth that must be recognised. They have grasped the chance and afforded themselves the opportunity to flourish. Particularly during a time of such economic uncertainty worldwide, due to the crumbling commodity markets and oil price, the most innovative and creative thinking has begun to occur, as it often does, in the face of impending doom.
If you love what you do you will truly never work a day in your life. The risk, I realise, is huge. Not everyone will be willing to take that risk nor should they. That said, the fallacious belief that staff employment is inherently safer than an alternative route is a disingenuous fabrication perpetuated by big business shackling their workers to fear their own potential. Changing economics is slowly eroding this belief and revealing the truth. Find the things you enjoy and maniacally pursue them and you’ll find a way to profit from the things you love. Learn new skills which augment your existing ones opening up a world of alternative opportunity.
2 — What is Entrepreneurship?
The Start-up is very much in vogue. You may wish to argue the likelihood of a tech bubble, the economic infeasibility of so many platforms operating without profitability or the merits of throwing mud against a wall until it sticks and I wouldn’t give you many arguments against any of them. Perhaps the greatest illustration of the ridiculousness of some startups is this: A million guys walk into a Silicon Valley bar. No one buys anything. Bar declared massive success. I believe startups need to refocus on the things that matter, creating real businesses. That for me is entrepreneurship. Spotting an opportunity and taking advantage of it. Real businesses will solve real problems, whether that is giving us a better standard of life, solving the world’s energy needs or reducing waste.
The media pedalled start-up image clouds people’s judgement. You don’t have to create a technology unicorn to be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is about doing something for you and cutting the chord of reliance on those whose appreciation of your skills, talent and effort is only counted in the return on their investment. The adage of ‘what have you done for me lately?’ is flipped on its head and is now ‘what have you done for yourself today?’. Companies like HelloAlfred are showing the potential of this ideology. By aggregating the tasks of a large quantity of people time can be spent more carefully achieving an economy of scale for chores, lessening the burden on individuals for completion of their daily tasks.
Entrepreneurship is about trust. Not just of yourself, and your ability to exploit opportunities you have identified, but of others also. Can you trust others which enables collaboration for mutual benefit instead of searching for opportunities where a relationship can be exploited for personal gain? Sure you might benefit short term but longer term you will suffer. The entrepreneur is happy to invest in relationships which pay bigger dividends for longer.
3 — Peer-to-peer Possibilities
Without resorting to hyperbole, collaboration has a real chance to change and contribute to saving the planet. Waste, over consumption and idle capacity are the biggest human disasters of the 21st century. Never have we had such an abundance of resources but never have we had so much waste. Something has to change and redress the balance of sustainability in the system. My proposal is ubiquitous adoption of a collaborative approach. Why bin something that can be shared. Companies like OLIO are leading the march towards a significantly reduced waste future. Platforms have the potential to redistribute excess capacity in ways never previously imaginable. Whether it is transport, childcare, companionship or sale of your personal goods technology has shrunk the world, obliterated borders and allowed collaborative exchanges of time, product and services with no discrimination or location requirement.
This is not before time. As population growth continues apace, 9 billion human inhabitants of the planet projected by 2050, sensible utilisation of Earth’s limited resources is only going to increase in importance. Water and food will of course take precedence. People need to grow closer and embrace collaboration to ensure we continue to flourish. I don’t think as a species we are willingly wasteful, I merely think we are ignorant to the detriment we are causing. Small changes make a huge difference and it is the cumulative efforts of us all working as one that will make the difference.
A feeling of humanity must be rediscovered. The feeling of giving and sharing within your local community truly is incredible, trust me I’ve already done it with food I wasn’t going to eat. It brings us closer together at a time when technology sucks us deeper into its dark screen and forces us apart. Fostering a real community spirit of togetherness truly is going back to the future, a devolvement to the times of our grandparents made more efficient by embracing technology.
4 — The rise of Post-Capitalism
Our consciousness has been hijacked by marketing to believe we are constantly in a state of lust for the newest products. This is born from the mindset of incremental advancement present in mass production. We have now evolved past that. We no longer require mass production for the ‘stuff’ we need instead we can buy it from smaller producers creating unique bespoke products.
Post-capitalism recognises that the current capitalist system is not sufficiently meeting the needs of the majority. It has only acted to widen the gap between those who have and have not. At a time when real earnings are falling for the lower and middle class yet the 1% continue to get richer questions need to be asked. When the workers producing wealth are only doing so to benefit a small elite the system needs to change as opposed to searching for greater efficiencies. This disparity will only continue to grow as automation and robotics proliferate the labour market in greater numbers. Those owners will be able to jettison the already low paid skilled labour positions for an almost free alternative. Sure supervisory and repair positions will be created but you misunderstand the purpose of progress and evolution if you think it will result in increased wages.
This all leads to the conclusion that fewer hours will need to be worked to remain at the same levels of production. The problem then becomes who can afford any product produced if there is no requirement for work. If consumers can’t earn who consumes? Automation should results in a tipping of the work life balance towards life but this will only be true if we can come to some sort of compromise relating to earnings.
5 — Learning how to Learn
How can schools prepare you for what you need to know today? How could they possibly predict the knowledge you would require 20, 10 or even 5 years after graduation. It’s time we take responsibility for our own learning and recognise development is a pre-requisite for this new exciting world. Those who rely on the fading knowledge they acquired from school will devolve. The internet has enabled unprecedented access to educational resources that used to only be available to the affluent and elite. Literally anyone with an internet connection can undertake a course from Harvard or any of the worlds other top institution.
The most important investment anyone can ever make is in themselves. Think of each book you read as savings which allows you to withdraw knowledge over your lifetime. Schools teach you memory skills required to pass arbitrary exams. The world is not arbitrary and problems are not as simple as X + Y = Z. Life is organic and we need to grow as the world changes. We need to continually acquire the skills necessary for the world we live in or wither away.
Original thinking is taught out of us, we are trained to conform and not strive for greatness. Education is average and ensures you stay that way. It doesn’t have to be that way and it is never too late. You are the one and only captain of your destiny so it’s about time you faced up to the responsibility of piloting yourself to your desired location. It has been said that the principal mark of genius is not perfection, but originality. Grades encourage the former at the detriment of the latter. Tailor your own teaching to what you want to learn and pursue greatness. It is far easier to be great at something you have went out your way to learn than learn what everyone else already knows. Zig when others zag and experience the benefit of originality.
10,000 of hours of dedication to anything is what it takes for someone to be the world-class at something. With that being true I would advocate another route being inherently more useful as the world moves towards a more diverse future. Spend 1,000 hours on 10 different subjects. You won’t become the best in the world at any one thing but you will become a world leading generalist which will ensure you can benefit from most of this new exciting post-capitalist world. The benefits of being better at 10 things than 90% of the global population than better than 99% of the world population at one are monumental. The crossover between your skills will lead to new unimaginable opportunities. Meet people, talk to people and share your ideas. Selflessly share your expertise, thoughts and experiences with people and I guarantee opportunities will find you. Without putting yourself out there people will never realise the importance of something or someone they aren’t aware exists.
The world is changing, you can either embrace it and enjoy the fruits of your labour or continue to lose ground, the choice truly is yours. Step back through the looking glass and tell me what you see…