Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dependence upon Youth in this Information Age

I have watched movies, television shows, and read about how some very successful CEO or businessman came to the realization that his life shouldn't be spent on making money. He learned that his life should be spent with his family or adventuring, in such a way that he is living life to the fullest. Do we as Americans have such a concept of life, that we should seek personal happiness before economic, or even political, success? I think most Americans believe that working extremely hard on their job will eventually result in personal happiness, and they believe so without being shown that hard work necessarily leads to personal happiness for oneself, and also for one's children and grand-children.

As another example, let us look at the college student who has the opportunity to go into graduate studies, possibly to earn a doctorate or Ph.D. in her preferred area of interest. She has no particular motivation to continue her education, because she does not feel that she wants to teach others, as of yet anyways. As she is pondering her future, she looks at alternatives, the most clear is that she simply not continue her education, but she does not see anything there for her; she sees an unknown area of possibility, and it is intimidating if not frightening. Her peers suggest that she could use her bachelor degree to go into work, or she could get into politics, or she could start a business. Since she has never explored work, politics, or business, she thinks that she has no possible life unless she gets a hirer education. This student is in the quagmire of formal education that some many college students seem to land in by pure accident; college students get degrees in something they like, like anthropology or literature, and they think that that degree necessitates that they get a job that requires that degree; these students resort to teaching in primary school students who may follow in their foot-steps.

This example is particularly heinous when we remember that, "a life unexamined is a life not worth living". Students are taught to maintain the status-quo of the society they grow up in, and they are encouraged to work for somebody else for the extent of their life; stagnation, or stasis, and dependency necessarily leads to collapse of any government. Is America headed for collapse because American schools are discouraging the entrepreneurial spirit? That is entirely possible, but that is for us to know when it is happening, should it happen at all. My point in showing the Dilemma of the Student, as well as the Dilemma of the Successful Man, is that American culture is not, if it ever was, based on examining one's own life, with the goal of correcting one's aim for happiness, to the likely exclusion of wealth, fame, and power.

This is not to say that the entrepreneurial spirit is somehow being bred out of American culture, or even that examination of one's life is uncommon. Rather, I am saying that as the entrepreneurial spirit decreases, it will result in fewer and fewer people holding more and more economic sway over the lives of others, particularly in the distribution of necessities, the access to communication, the access to luxuries, the access to jobs, and the access to positions in government. In other words, the fewer entrepreneurs their are, the more monopolistic and more centralized the economy will become, though the proper terminology may be oligopolism (from "oligopoly"). No economy last more than a life time when it is centralized, therefore an oligopolistic economy may last as long as the number of oligololists are controlling the economy. This situation is not good, because it gives rise to a greater and greater gap between those in economic and political power, and those who are working for the powerful and wealthy; this breeds class-hatred, which is easily magnified by a government that would finally centralize the economy, thus pushing the economic and political gap to the point of disaster. Again, this is no prediction of what may occur in America, because I am describing what effectively happened in Germany, Italy, and Russia during World War 2.

America, as well as most countries, has an extremely fast means of communication, such that men and women with the entrepreneurial spirit can make an enjoyable living from the comforts of a small town in the middle of nowhere; the Internet is the single greatest means of communication ever devised by Man, and it is utilized for commercial transactions at an incredibly fast rate, such that businesses could not make a profit without the speed of e-mails and massive databases. With the internet, young America entrepreneurs are able to live off of blogs, weekly Youtube video posting, and even selling camping gear through an online website. (Tangentially, the video game industry in conjunction with the internet have resulted in sub-cultural memes of the likes unimaginable before 2000.) The future of a stable American economy must involve some mixture of independent, small-business production and internet-based services, both for local maintenance of production(more exportation, less importation) and the ability to quickly find customers from around the world.

The capacity for the internet to provide information is so great that Mankind may be at or approaching a tipping point in the Information Age; the Information age may transition as fast as it began, only to explode into the cosmos at a greater rate of acceleration. The sky was the limit, now the government is the limit, but soon the speed of light may be the limit; I am not convinced that even light is a very difficult barrier to cross.

The future of Mankind, or at least America, is dependent upon young entrepreneurs who have a conscious grasp of the world, both as it is and how they want to change it. One must be a part of any future change for Mankind, and must actively support the youth in entrepreneurialism, or else countries like America will fall into the same quagmire as Rome: centralism and stasis. Romans in the Empire, after all, saw anything "new" as bad, preferring to remain conservative of traditional ways of doing things, seeking virtue for its own sake.