Ch 4) Technology – Access
We know technology has ‘increased productivity.’ We have overlooked its role in adding to our own personal productivity as well. That means everything from reducing shopping time as we go on line, to reduced transport time and cost in both work and hobby. Each of these adds to our personal development and expands our reach for time, money, interests and personal fulfillment – as well as oppertunity.
We now travel at the speed of light on the information superhighway. This has been considered, but the access to opportunity has not been accounted for when it comes to inflation. For example, the cost of education was intended to equip us with tools, network, interface and access to opportunities. Technology is replacing this cost in ways not fully appreciated yet. Tech provides billions in new prospects and personal development. Yes, the cost to education, transport and public status have all risen. However, access to opportunity, people, know-how and other information based empowerment have also fallen in step with technologies advances. This has provided a layer of capital efficiency not quantified into the inflation matrix as an off set against the rising cost of education, housing, transport and other social development expenses.
Five Stars for Democrats on this one. Their policies backing technology have actually been understated, but accurate.
Here’s an easier way of saying this. Economic slow downs of this magnitude would normally reduce personal development, productivity and access with far more impact than what we see of many Americans today. A growing number of us are not as dependent upon the old tools of education, capital resources or private networks required for success in the old world. Education certainly has this expanding divide to occupational access. At the same time, technology is expanding the entrepreneurial access as well. It’s not a complete off-set for everyone, but it does offer options not seen of other slowing economic times. This is true for entry to things from entertainment (movies, music, sports), marketing, product development, manufacturing, collaboration and a host of other areas. This has not been developed enough to quantify the way we can with educational access or income opportunity, but it is beginning to provide a whole new social latter almost independent of the old career path formulas.
New Education Budget
Much of this development is hidden by a sluggish economy. The broader benefits are already in play and will become more apparent as the economy improves. This is a quiet time for entrepreneurs. The capital, market infrastructure and social support is not yet in place to capitalize upon a cross section of innovations and how this translates for millions of Americans. The next wave of capital and social support is building in ways not yet accounted for. This is likely to work a lot like educations financial backing rather then today’s biz start up funding models. Examples of this would be in infrastructure such as faster internet services built on the public dime or greater computer access because of falling prices. It’s a bit vague and so harder to quantify in the ways we can predict for education or small business programs. Technology is already becoming part of the education budget for states and cities throughout the country. This is somewhat comparable to joining education, transportation and small biz development and bundling them into a single program of social development. Each passing year provides greater returns and off-sets to inflation.
Infrastructure of 21st Century
This is not suggesting that technology justifies the cut backs to such programs as higher education and public school funding, but rather, technology is providing some alternative to these cut backs and allowing progress otherwise unseen of past economic slow downs. Building upon these areas will do wonders in turning this economy around. It’s the infrastructure of a 21st Century and will do for us today as education and national infrastructure did in the last century. Seeing how these technologies help during these tough economic times provides us some pointers to priority areas for development.