Immediately, I found a lot of enjoyment out of the contrast between the two readings. While Drucker looks ahead to a post WW2 future, full of global conflict and mistakes, the first chapter of Reid is almost uplifting. This is ironic to say because Reid states that the former social structure of management, business, and administration is gone. No one in the government is going to support you if you cannot find a job, and certainly, as employer’s expectations of life-long commitment begin to fade, even the company you work for no longer promises a successful rise in your career.
Terrifying, no? On the bus to my internship, where I literally stuff letters, paste name tags onto envelopes or unwrap packets of playing cards, I was mortified at the suggestion that this very well could be a job post-college, and for a while— because entry-level positions are becoming more and more concrete in preventing advancement. As Reid states, aren’t we all raised to believe that if you put in good work, prove your worth, and reflect the values of your company, you will be rewarded for your hard efforts. Now, I don’t think that’s “millennial” entitlement spewing out of my mouth— it’s the reason why we go to college. Because that little slip of paper says, “yes, I am drowning in debt, and probably will be for the next 25 years, just so I can get a job that adequately pays for my basic human needs—oh, and the HELLA AMOUNTS OF DEBT.” (okay that was a little millennial)
The point of this blog post is not to rant and rave and try and make the claim our generation is literally at the tipping point of society, going in the direction of humanity that has yet to be discovered—so I’ll let Reid do it for me. He admits that through globalization and technology, the old world has rather died, and continuing to play the roles assigned in the old world, that means we will die along with it.
In his 2006 book, The World is Flat, Thomas Freidman outlines three stages of globalization. Stage One goes from the 1400-1700s. Stage Two is the 1700s to 2000, and then Stage Three is 2000+.
Stage One was the world pre-industrialization. Families were small, they believed absolutely in the existence of God, and everything was done by hand. Think Puritans but WORLD WIDE. Life, in essence, was simple. If you could survive chicken pox, the flu, and birth, you probably had a good chance of coming out okay. Unless you were a witch: in that case, you are so going down.
Stage Two is the boom heard around the world: the Industrial Revolution. Suddenly, it doesn’t take four horses and a week to till a field; a machine will do it for you. Everything is stamped out on an assembly line, and suddenly, God is not the Almighty any more: it’s science. What is this world we live in and how does it work? How do we all fit on this tiny blue marble?
Stage Three is often referred to the as the Age of Technology, and more prominently, the Internet. Today, we still are unsure of how to regulate a sphere of influence that has no physical basis, nothing we can hold in our hands, and yet still feel the need to control. Selfies is now an accepted word by the Oxford English dictionary (writing this on Word, no squiggly line showed up under it) and we are spiraling towards hell and damnation because of Twerking and GMOs.
At every precipice, we are convinced this was the end. This is how it all went down: because we stopped believing in God, because science helped the Nazi agenda and brutally massacre thousands, because states are still allowed to decimate based on physical appearance (thanks NC). From Drucker’s perspective, yes the world was changing, and potentially into something scary and bad. But because it was new, Drucker couldn’t see the goodness that Reid can. Of course, everything is about relative history, and where you stand in it. But quite honestly, I refuse to accept that because now the old models of business are changing, this means we’re all going to die. Who knows where and when Stage Four of Globalization will appear, and it might be soon. But for now, the earth continues to spin— and simply put, society is starting-up again.