Adonis Diaries

Zero Unemployment? Are we off the industrial age or back to slavery?

Posted on: July 5, 2018

Toward zero unemployment

A dozen generations ago, there was no unemployment, largely because there were no real jobs to speak of.

Before the industrial revolution, the thought that you’d leave your home and go to an office or a factory was, of course, bizarre.

What happens now that the industrial age is ending?

As the final days of the industrial age roll around, we are seeing the core assets of the economy replaced by something new. Actually, it’s something old, something handmade, but this time, on a huge scale.

The industrial age was about scarcity.

Everything that built our culture, improved our productivity, and defined our lives involved the chasing of scarce items.

On the other hand, the connection economy, our economy, the economy of the foreseeable future, embraces abundance.

No, we don’t have an endless supply of the resources we used to trade and covet.

No, we certainly don’t have a surplus of time, either.

But we do have an abundance of choice, (except for third world citizens traveling to colonial State powers? Whose passports do Not require visas and denial of visas)

An abundance of connection, and an abundance of access to knowledge (without labs or practical training?)

We know more people, (meaning see more crowd?) have access to more resources, and can leverage our skills more quickly and at a higher level than ever before.

This abundance leads to two races.

The race to the bottom is the Internet-fueled challenge to lower prices, find cheaper labor, and deliver more for less.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without, to be the linchpin we would miss if he didn’t show up.

The race to the bottom is the Internet-fueled challenge to lower prices, find cheaper labor, and deliver more for less.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without, to be the linchpin we would miss if he didn’t show up.

The race to the top focuses on delivering more for more. It embraces the weird passions of those with the resources to make choices, (and create choices?)and it rewards originality, marketability, and art.

The connection economy continues to gain traction because connections scale, information begets more information, and influence accrues to those who create this abundance.

As connections scale, these connections paradoxically make it easier for others to connect as well, because anyone with talent or passion can leverage the networks created by connection to increase her impact.

The connection economy doesn’t create jobs where we get picked and then get paid; the connection economy builds opportunities for us to connect, and then demands that we pick ourselves.

Just as the phone network becomes more valuable when more phones are connected (scarcity is the enemy of value in a network), the connection economy becomes more valuable as we scale it.

Friends bring us more friends.

A reputation brings us a chance to build a better reputation.

Access to information encourages us to seek ever more information.

The connections in our life multiply and increase in value. Our stuff, on the other hand,  becomes less valuable over time.

… [this riff is inspired by my new book…]

Seth Godin, 2013

 

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