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let go at the top
navigating to the new economy


LifeAhead is a blog about change.

The enabling technologies of computer chips and global communications are bringing us into an age where knowledge, information and networks are becoming more valuable as material goods become ever cheaper. The old top-down models of business and central government are flowing out into a decentralized global network. We’re in the process of transitioning from the industrial economy to the networking economy.

It’s truly disruptive change that will lead to unprecedented innovation and advances over the coming decades. And a resurgence of local and more sustainable economic communities.

But the challenges we face are daunting. The financial crash of 2008 ushered in a recession that’s become the new normal. Antiquated schools, massive long-term unemployment, income inequality, and aging infrastructure need immediate attention. The financial, tax and education system designed for the industrial economy are woefully out of date in the network economy. Political polarization and short-term policymaking are stifling progress, destroying real human lives and potential in the process.

And there’s climate change – we’re moving too slowly transitioning to clean energy sources. As billions of people in developing nations join the global economy it will be nearly impossible to avoid burning even more fossil fuels. But we have to do something now.

Taken together, the opportunities, challenges, and perils facing our children and grandchildren are enormous and unprecedented. Our job is to foster the creativity, critical thinking skills and compassion they’ll need to navigate to the new economy.

Rick Atkinson

Rick Atkinson

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