Saturday, March 13, 2010

Down Time

We'll always fear what we don't understand and there is too much of both in present-day America. Looking ahead to the future of employment, conservative columnist/ TV pundit Reihan Salam has a fantastic piece in this month's Time magazine that manages to be oddly comforting in its vision of a wholly rebooted workplace, despite being burdened with so much uncertainty.

1 comment:

JustCallMeJo said...

(...'home-schooling...tailored to different learning styles...')

Have you ever met a home-schooled adult? One that functions in society, that is? (ANY society, i.e. not a shack in an isolated wooded area guarded by dogs of uncertain breed?)

Sorry, I'm not buyin how the increasing stupidification of younger generations is good for the current economy, much less a re-imagined one.

You can't make sustainable eco-friendly farmers easily from fat kids raised on fast food and the new math. Generation Ys living in Mom and Dad's basement aren't going to be the architects of the new world. Five of them will go on to be what Gen-X gave us with Yahoo and Google. The rest of the Ys will have to fend for themselves in the world, just like previous generations have.

Leave them without college educations and they will NOT create utopia, either with a 'grid' or without one. Living 'off the grid' is nice Romantic idea that is built upon Enlightenment-era ideals. But the grid exists because society and civilization have uses for humanity.

Raising children in 'self-sufficient' and 'resilient' communities does not give you granola-crunchin tree-huggers with sustainable farms. It gives you teenaged unabombers/ganstas/neo-Nazis/suicide-bombing-kids/whatever with rigid ideals....the kind that always come from humans who don't encounter other people different from themselves.

And as for his Romantic 'life on the open road'....there's another name for that. It's called homelessness. And there's nothing great about it.

Nor is there anything great about a lack of a formal education.

Nor is there anything great about being unemployed.

Salam has some great thoughts. Living of the grid is a great idea, in the sense of transcending (for total lack of better word) it. Living off the grid merely because you're not educated enough or your life skills are inadequate to participate in it is not the same thing at all.