The Industrialist's Promise

We talk a lot about the collapse of Industrialism, about how it's really not possible to play it safe anymore.  

We talk about how the Industrialist's Promise is dead, how we no longer have the option to hunker down, do what we we're told for the next 40 years, and make a good living.


The Industrialist's Promise, the promise of good pay for compliant work - that promise it dead.


Except it's not completely dead.


They're rapidly disappearing, but there are still fields where it's possible to make a good living without necessarily having to be brave, without having to make art, without having to break the rules.


Really, there are. If your chief concern is a regular paycheck, then you can achieve that. Go to any professional school, they'll give you the list. It's full of weird job descriptions you've never heard of - lots of obscure medical positions and, of course, computer programming positions.


It's true. You want a job for the rest of your life? Study programming. It's a sure thing.


So if computer programmers are constantly in short supply, if this is a guaranteed paycheck, then why are so many 19 year olds studying English and History and Psychology?


Why aren't they tramping each other on the way to the comp sci building?


Because, well, because they're heart just isn't in it.


They're just not interested in the Industrialist's Promise.


They don't want a paycheck, they want work that is interesting and engaging, work that expands them and connects them to others, work that makes a difference in the world.


And for many many students, computer science is not that work (and of course, for some it is).


These 19 year olds aren't really interested in a steady paycheck.


The promise doesn't work on them because it wasn't design for them.


The Industrialist's Promise was designed for a generation that never thought they could own their own house before age 40.


A generation that had know poverty.


A generation that didn't grow up with two cars in the garage.


That promise just doesn't work very well on children of the middle class.


We've never known poverty. Many of us have been driving since we were 16 years old. We've travelled around the United States, some even over seas. Our parents have always had jobs, we've always been well fed, we've grown up in material comfort.


Maybe we're naive, but we're just not that afraid of poverty.


We've seen a lot of the world, and we've know a lot of comfort.


Which is why, I think, the Industrialist's Promise is so empty for us.


Our parents took that gig, and we reaped the benefits.


So now, we're immune.


Immune to a house in the suburbs and a two car garage.


Call us crazy, call us entitled or silly or confused or absurd, call us spoiled brats. If fact, that last one is almost certainly true.


The fact remains. The Industrialist's promise is dead to us.


We want something different, and we're going to build it.