Thursday, August 11, 2011

A New Agenda

I remember graduating from film school and walking the streets of Soho looking for a job by literally knocking on every door. It worked for me (albeit with a salary of £4k pa).

Now we have a situation all over Europe where 50% of young people are unemployed. The reality is that our work has been outsourced to the East. But an unemployed Westerner is still better off than a hard working, employed Easterner.

And they have a very rich life involving friends, online services and a global reach. Very often they will have work hard for a degree - a concept sold to them by the Government. But still can't spell or do anything useful.

This clearly demands a radical rethinking of our society.

We are virtualised and need to be able to engage with work in this kind of way. Freakonomics pointed out how drug dealing is a pyramid selling scheme par excellence... And also how little the foot soldiers of drug rings earn.

Whatever side of the law you sit, there are winners and losers.

But does this need to be the way ?

Our education system is basically Victorian and teaches skills that are totally redundant. Maths and English are sort of useful, but spelling is a very recent invention and maths is something a calculator or accountant can do.

Self expression is rife and this has a value. Answering a questionnaire has value. So many things in our world that may seem obvious can be turned into Mechanical Turks.

I've had extensive experience of Indian, Filipino, Russian, Vietnamese and Cypriots supplying such services, and plenty of Brits doing the same.

The trouble is our reference is all wrong. Maggie Thatcher deliberately destroyed every factory and mine in the country, but replaced it with nothing. Now is the time to do that.

Three years ago I challenged myself to take £10k and build a company that could rival my previous company, which had taken $20m to build. I succeeded and this company now turns over many times the original investment every month and works for some of the world's leading companies with better software than the $20m company will ever have. And it makes a very good profit (which is largely reinvested).

This has been easy for me, but how do I help young people to do the same..? I'm sure an awful lot of them can make their own way, given a chance.