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, an abundance of connection, and an abundance of access to knowledge.
We know more people, 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 top focuses on delivering more for more. It embraces the weird passions of those with the resources to make choices, and it rewards originality, remarkability, and art.