Within my lifetime, male life expectancy has increased by over 50%, and it seems likely the first person to live to 500 through medical intervention has already been born.
Also during this time, the invention of the computer chip and the internet has created an engine that moves change from rapid and linear, to continuous, exponential, and chaotic.
Despite this, we have yet to grasp the implications. We still educate our children for jobs, and expect to retire comfortably in our 60’s, supported by an economy predicated on constant growth. We are regarding the harbingers of radical change, from climate change to BREXIT and TRUMPIN, as anomalies – a brief blip before normal returns. That seems unlikely.
The intersection of longer lives and exponential change looks likely to dismantle the way we work. By their very nature – love of certainty and a bias to entropy, conventional organisations will struggle, and their lifespans will continue to decline. Relying on them for jobs and economic growth, let alone social growth, seems foolish.
As we become increasingly connected, we become more economically isolated. We can no longer afford to be dependent on organisations for our living. At the same time, independence leaves us vulnerable. The way forward it seems is interdependence.
Productive interdependence changes everything about the way we work. If we are going to live longer in increasingly volatile times we need to rethink notions of careers, education, and retirement.
At the heart of this reframing is our sense of self – of our purpose, our abilities, and our responsibilities to each other.
90 years in jobs we don’t like is a daunting thought.