One day in the future, people will have a chance to totally remake society. Some have believed that would occur in their lifetimes but that is not the point. George Friedman has written a book called The Next 100 Years. If the book is not accessible to you, he has a 5 page summary titled, Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal, that you can read. The summary cogently expresses the broad outcomes of population and productivity among other things.
Population, technology, environment, philosophy, and the relationships among people and groups are some of the things impact how we live. Population and technology modify the quality of environment and relationships up or down. Those conditions then feed back into the growth or decline of population. Our philosophy, individually and collectively, is the trigger that drives the entire cycle.
Subtle to dramatic shifts in our philosophy spread over population channeled through technology (industrial, digital, biological, agricultural, etc) and process (markets, banking, distributors, urban observance, etc) changes the environment (natural and people made). Relationships among people and the quality of people’s lives is the central point of life. The criteria for that life is defined in the reigning philosophy. That is the fulcrum upon which technology and process is beneficial or not.
Massive productivity through technology and process means several things. George Friedman spoke at the end of the article about labor brokering as an economic model. I stated in my technology blog that the future of business, at least in technology, has to do with service instead of product.
Ownership is not a reliable economic model concerning non-physical solutions. Rather, the advantage and the competition exists in execution. The top quality criterion relates to the quality of the solution at the moment of offer and exchange. All specifications and, in many cases, ingredient components are fully open. Thought leadership and extent of “applied” subject matter expertise carries business forward. Ownership becomes irrelevant. The best implementation wins.
That will be the economic model of the future. It has been pioneered by companies such as RedHat, Amazon.com’s Cloud division, and Apple’s approach to software as a value add to physical hardware. Those are small examples. They represent a shift in how value is delivered. It is not so much who has the knowledge but who applies well. That is a reputation of a substantiated and substantive kind delivered through evolved technology and process. It is the kind of work that the majority of people who do work in the future will undertake.
We are approaching a time, perhaps not in the near future, but long-term, in which technology will create abundance. It is not about the pursuit of material things, but the opportunity to be free of that pursuit so that higher value activities can be the priority. A world in which the abundance reduces conflict born of comparison of need. Instead, attention can turn to things of higher cognitive, philosophical, and meaningful worth. Technology is just one of several means to that end.