How many times have you read or listened to a radio news report and heard lines that go something like this: Consumer spending was up today and economists predict a good year; The Stock market today reacted to a slow holiday spending season as consumers decided to save; Lower consumer confidence spells out a continued recession; or Deep discounts opened up the wallets of consumers and businesses breathed a sigh of relief.
Consumers, consumers, consumers.we use this term as if this is a life form of its own! We used to be citizens of the United States, but now mainly, we are identified as consumers--which as we all know is the hallmark of the Industrial economy. After 911, we weren't asked to be good citizens we were asked to be good consumers and as the run up to the current recession shows, we were relentless!
As many consumers have finally realized, consuming costs a lot of money and getting that money costs a lot of life. So much so that it has begun to dawn on a lot of consumers that consuming wasn't nearly as much fun as it should've been. We became exhausted consumers working to pay off massive debts that we now realize can never be paid off.
And while all that is happening, the Industrial/consumer economy is showing massive and multiple signs it is on its last leg. The Wall Street/Too Big to Fail banking debacle was the last gasp attempt to keep the Industrial economy going through the selling of "fake assets' that a consumer manic world got so excited about buying that it didn't even realize it was being sold thin air!
With a jobless recovery predicted, many of the traditional jobs associated with the Industrial economy will never return. The shift to a Knowledge/Service economy is fully underway. But what happens when the Industrial/consumer economy changes to a Knowledge/Service economy? And if you aren't a consumer, what are you?
I've been researching this question and it appears that continuing to identify ourselves as consumers will soon become very passÃ©. If you want to be successful in the 21st century, Knowledge/Service economy: then learn, act, grow and identify as a "Creative." There is evidence of a surprisingly large group of Creatives that are already building the foundation of the Knowledge/Service economy.
We won't be consuming our way out of the greatest recession/depression since 1929. We'll be "creating' a whole new economy. That's actually the good news even though it's going to take a little while to get comfortable in our new roles and new way of living life. The difference between the old and the new is shifting our focus from a "quantity of stuff" economy to a "quality of life" economy.
Oh, yes, we'll still have some stuff to consume but Creatives are folks who are much more interested in ideas, relationships, community and businesses that are sustainable and benefit humans and the planet. It's more about quality of how we spend our time each day versus the rat race lifestyle that left us with no time to actually live our life! Creatives love working but in balance to other important parts of their lives--family, community, and nature. The Knowledge/Service economy will support a very different set of lifestyles -- different, not less.
So, imagine these headlines about Creatives to replace the old Consumer ones: Creatives have fostered a global network of volunteers who are bringing literacy to the 3 billion people who have yet to learn to read; Creatives have developed integrative working environments in all businesses (especially repetitive endeavors) to ensure full development for all employees; Creatives have established new economic measurements that are focused on happiness and quality of life to replace the previous unlimited growth = profits system -- in doing this, many new employment possibilities have become valued and many from the old system, such as Credit Default Swaps trader, have been eliminated; Creatives have developed a new work/value system for each employment position--turns out, the front end receptionist is more valuable than most middle-managers and will now be paid commensurate with this new work/value rating system; and Creatives have determined that the most important employment areas align with those that foster high quality of life for the individual, community, and natural environments this is in contrast to the Consumer economy's limited and narrow criteria of if it makes money, its important.
The changing, new Knowledge/Service economy represents a simple shift from a focus on the term "consumers" which implies that shopping is normal to a focus on the term creatives and knowing that this means whole life/wholeness is normal. Two little words provide such a very different approach to how we live our lives. If you thought being a consumer was fun, just wait until you discover the joy in being a Creative.
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