Yesterday I talked about how innovation requires inclusion. Today I want to talk about how inclusion requires innovation. What do I mean? We are in the middle of an extremely disruptive economic shift, one that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump tapped into during last year’s contentious presidential election campaign, which is that the America of the 1950’s no longer exists, and in the process we have left behind far too many households who lack the educational attainment to compete in the modern economy. Where once decent wages could be had for all irrespective of the quality or quantity of one’s educational consumption, now automation, globalization, and suburbanization have meant that jobs for the less educationally credentialed are fewer, lower paying, and more menial.
After all, even though disparities are wide in today’s economy, they are not overcomable. And in fact to some degree they are far more overcomable than past disparities. I have written before that in our agricultural economy, if you didn’t own land you had no chance of succeeding because you had no chance of getting land, and in our industrial economy, if you didn’t own capital you had no chance of succeeding because you had no chance of getting capital. Whereas if you are among the have-nots in our knowledge economy, you still have a chance (however slim) of succeeding because you do have a chance of getting knowledge.