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The Economic Evolution of Our Future Selves


Service Economy
The US has moved from agriculture to manufacturing and now, to a service based economy. There is no point in arguing, as greater than 50% of the US labor force is in the services sector; some sources state that is closer to 80%. This means that we have evolved from the creation and procurement of raw materials to produce goods to the management of the processes to procure, produce, and create. Then the more time that passes, the better we are becoming at innovating and streamlining processes. For example: Nike has finally created a process that reduces the number of hand sewn pieces of a sneaker from 37 pieces to two. The shoe is “knit” by a machine and weighs only 55% as much as the typical hand sewn Nike running shoe. Instead of factory workers, Nike employed computer programmers and engineers, effectively reducing factory labor by 96%.

SEE: The Psychology of Finance

 All About Quality
Concepts such as ISO and Six Sigma are taught to executives globally and are well established as standards by which we work, beyond the predecessor concepts of TQM and JIT quality and delivery systems. Unions have screamed about this for years – jobs leaving the US. However, it’s a conundrum as Americans simply will not work for pennies on the dollar. In the meantime, given little other choice, Americans have become more highly educated and applied their skills to the ever growing services based economy.

The impact of this change then is two-fold, ramp down labor intensity and ramp up brain power. Intensive thought processes and collaborative efforts to innovate and streamline mundane processes enable us to focus on other facets and should eventually evolve us into a better quality of life.

SEE: Is Nike’s Flyknit the Swoosh of the Future?

Greater Good
The leader passes on the older technology, made affordable by the advent of the new technology, so that underdeveloped countries can begin or can continue their quest for improved quality of life for their inhabitants. Scientist find manners of harnessing the power of the sun to generate electricity, they innovate inexpensive manners of cleansing polluted water sources, and we are all better off in the end as it serves the greater good. Yes, this is of course the perfect scenario in a frictionless altruistic world. We may never see utopia but, as long as we strive for it we may come close.

Knowledge Application
Demand for innovation requires that we not just learn but that we actively apply our knowledge. We’ve adapted to the information age where knowledge is power and the “power” is more widely distributed via electronic means. Fewer are factory workers, working long hours on their feet, under poor conditions, and more sit at a desk, in a cubicle, at a laboratory, etc. and find solutions to problems. We organize information, we analyze data, we assess, we draw conclusions, we tweak processes, and we offer perspective. There are no aliens; we simply evolve.

SEE: What Comes After the Information Age?

About the Author

Maisha Smart, MBA founded Finance and Marketing to help small businesses excel, by bridging the gap between finance and marketing processes. Some of her favorite activities include fine arts, a good debate, and social engagement.

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