Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How are you responding in the current economic environment?

I’ve been a fan of Tom Peters since the early 1990s – a recent email of his caught my eye as being particularly reflective of what’s happening in today’s economy:

Radical Personal Development

On 1 January 2014, Tom tweeted: "Accelerating tech changes/etc.= Middle class in tank: good jobs are falling to algorithmic automation and offshoring. ONLY answer/ONLY chance: Determined/intensive commitment to personal growth. Start date 1/1/14.

Tom continued: "You totally misunderstand overall economic context if you choose not to start today on RPD/Radical Personal Development." For more on this topic, see Tom's latest manifesto, "Excellence. NO EXCUSES."

We all face the challenge of thriving in a world where white collar work will change in ways we can scarcely imagine. Prominent observers warn of job destruction at a faster rate than new jobs can be generated and mass middle class unemployment, leading to social unrest. I.e., a Revolution! Tom has been talking about the White Collar Revolution since 1999. It's starting to take some twists even he didn't see coming.

Other commentators are predicting that future economic success depends on the creation of jobs that require a significant element of human ingenuity and creativity; that is, worth the high wages we require to support our preferred living standards.

“The root of our problem is not that we’re in a Great Recession or a Great Stagnation, but rather that we are in the early throes of a Great Restructuring. Our technologies are racing ahead, but our skills and organizations are lagging behind.”—Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee/Race Against The Machine

Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown (A New Culture of Learning) report that the Internet has opened up a revolutionary type of learning, which they call “Arc of Life Learning.” Thomas and Brown indicate that the Internet offers us endless content and enables proactive learners to capitalize on these opportunities. It is up to each individual to dive in.

Over the last several years, I personally have benefitted by taking a large number of seminary courses that are offered online by seminaries such as RTS and Covenant. But there are so many more possibilities. I think that the more Christians can be aware of and try to stay current with these trends, the better things can be for our culture as a whole. 

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