Thinking beyond The Great Reset

When I'm valuing the lens of an author I'm reading, I'm also usually questioning "what's missing here?". Every lens focuses on some things to the exclusion of others. There's no way to take it all in so we delete what a lens considers to be non-essential information. When we filter out to focus on essentials, we won't know what we're missing. The process of exclusion is unconscious.

As I read through, The Great Reset, I asked that question of myself. Umair Haque put the book in two contexts which helped me see what might be missing: building a better 21st century and migrating from an austerity regimen to a freshly-conceived prosperity model. I also typically consider how there are two sides to every seemingly one-sided coin which are both kept in balance by some process of compensation, oscillation or retaliation. With all that in mind, I've reached the following tentative conclusions:

Richard Florida's thesis builds on Alfred Kleinknecht's 1987 book - Innovation patterns in crisis and prosperity : Schumpeter's long cycle reconsidered. While The Great Reset dwells on the widespread explosion of innovation during economic depressions, I've been wondering what happened to the creative destruction? My thoughts are not yet well formed about what needs to be destroyed to make way for the next economy. I'm more clear about the psychological states of those who will fill those roles. I return to that facet of the next economy in a later post.

The Great Reset extrapolates a future based on the uneven unemployment stats from this recession and the early signs of population migration back to inner city living. Both point to the defining characteristic of the next economy as individual and collaborative creativity. The creative professionals and service workers have lost significantly fewer jobs than manufacturing and construction. The migration back to urban living has begun to include families with children in school. All this suggests that inner cities will become hot beds of innovative approaches to lifestyles, education and community support systems, not just finance, fashion, retailing, restaurants and the arts.

This renewal of urban cores fits my own foresight about the next economy. However, the expansion of economic sector comprised of creative professionals does not. Professionals function in business models of bringing the problem to the solution. They aggregate in thriving, insular places so long as the "customers" will come to them. Professionals also function as expert gatekeepers, filters and exclusive sources of proficiency. They are now in competition with unfiltered fire hoses that get ranked and rated by the crowd. Professionals are getting preempted by citizens who "take the solution to the problem" and know what the real problem is below the surface. So I'm expecting we will continue to have doctors for 10% of what they currently do for patients, and replace doctors with the long tail of "unprofessional" providers for the 90% of the "high-dollar hand holding" the docs currently do. This contraction and replacement pattern will repeat itself throughout every creative profession.

The Great Reset anticipates innovations which will create lots of jobs. All economists hope that's true. They depend on quantifiable jobs, incomes and productivity metrics to create econometric models, to explain the data fluctuations and to generate predictions. Marshall McLuhan suspected that we would see the demise of jobs and return to roles as the electric age took full effect and re-tribalized us. He perceived jobs as products of the industrial era, resulting from mechanization taking command and only suitable for mechanical brides wedded to cumbersome technologies. He claimed that jobs were compartmentalized, specialized and routinized, much like the functionality of printing presses, steel mills and railroad engines. He assumed we would favor more fluid, improvisational and varied roles once we got acclimated to all things electronic. We're seeing the migration to roles in the increased use of teams, provisional project assignments and free-lancers on call. This change to roles will be off the radar of most "job counters".

There are many other transitions I'm foreseeing that will not reveal themselves in economic data. I'll explore these in future posts as well.

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