It has always been in our nature to consume. Death quickly follows a lack of consumption. Beyond food we consumed the stories shared by the tribe. Over time we ‘consumed’ tools that in turn enabled us to produce (eg. bigger meals, a weakened enemy).
Today we continue to consume and produce. Though it has never been easier to consume (eg. shiny online shopping malls and attention sapping video content). The industrial era over the last two hundred years has however reduced our need / ability to produce. If you are a cog in the machine then your association with the factory’s output is decoupled. That is also true for many even when the factory is a furnished office.
As we transition into the digital economy the societal divide will comprise ‘consumer-dominants’ on the disadvantaged side and ‘producer dominants’ on the empowered side.
Today compliant ‘factory’ workers are being replaced by technology. So our education system needs to move from producing consumers to developing young people’s ability to produce stuff, whether it is tangible or intangible (eg. music, sales or even attention).
Societies and individuals need to reflect on their consumer-producer ratios.
It is a good measure of whether your future looks rosy or bleak.