Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creative Age Epitaph

The good time are over before you know it. We produce more food now than any time in history. The Agrarian Age ended at least a century ago. Manufacturing output is still growing. But employment is in retreat. Rust Belt cities have been in decline for over 50-years. What's this about the dawn of the Creative Age?

In a recent talk I gave, I asked people to imagine that we were at the end of the agrarian age and the beginning of the industrial age and we could choose to invest further in a building a better buggy or a building a new buggy – the automobile. If you invested in the better buggy you would been out of buisness, if you invested in the automobile you would have been as wealthy as Detroit was at its peak mid 20th Century.

We are now in the same cross hairs of time. We are at the end of the industrial age and the beginning of the creative age. If you are building an economy and community are  you going to bet that industrial based manufacturing is going to carry the day or that knowledge, innovation and  technology driven companies is where the future economy is heading. We have a bit of a crystal ball here. I don’t know about you but I am betting on the future not the past! Look what happened to Detroit they missed the shifting trends and are still paying for it today vs. Silicon Valley who is still capitalized on the shifting trends.

Emphasis added. We were at the end of the industrial age and the beginning of the "creative age" in 1950. The employment peak (as a share of all employment) marks the beginning of one era and the end of another. The apex of the creative age may be a few years into the future. But the end is nigh.

If you want to bet on the future, then don't bet on the creative age. That's the past. Investing in Silicon Valley now would be like investing in Detroit at its peak. Your chips are down on yesterday. What comes after the creative age?

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