Lost Skills = Lost Hope
by Michael Hall
America in 1790 was a nation where most people were able to learn productive life skills by observation, mentorship, apprenticeship and human curiosity to seek and self-learn when rudimentary education was not available. Small communities developed as self-supporting with the skills of almost everyone involved.
Most people were able to work at something to provide for themselves and their community. This gave their children hope that they could become involved and provide a living for themselves. Those children used intuition to develop technology for tools that eased the back breaking chores of labor without removing human involvement. The beginning of the industrial revolution. Life was harsh at the time but the people had hope for the development of their skills.
Slowly we began the march towards monetized capitalism to develop ever more advanced technology touting that mankind shall benefit. The more advanced we became, the more society became commodity oriented. By 1900 machines required human labor to operate. By 1960 the machines that were designed to eliminate physical hardship became machines to eliminate the human job.
This rapid advancement of technology in the hands of the corporate elite started the education revolution with the goal that the workers shall pay for learning skills. The first 12 years of mandatory schooling to be paid through taxing the citizens and small business. The next 4 years of elective college to be paid for by the student. The large corporate industries awarded tax abatements were able to skirt the mandatory education costs. The people bore the full weight of this revolution.
By 1970 hope for our children began to dwindle with the fear that foreign competition was going to eliminate our jobs, it happened. By 1990 the fear that computers with automation shall eliminate more of our jobs, it happened. By 2000 the fear that all of our jobs would be transferred to the cheapest global labor workforce, it happened. Technology had improved so much that global cheap labor exploitation had commoditized most of the work that we used to do for ourselves.
By 1980 college level education became the mandatory requirement to obtain any industrial scale, middle class job. Any job less than industrial scale monetized capitalism could result in poverty. Our children fell into the market of the “pay to play” business model of corporate education. By 2010 many of our children succumbed to the mortgage level education debt for careers that no longer are viable to support their living. Is this because greedy capitalism sucks the life blood out of our children? No, the real problem is the business of education.
The industrial business of education teaches by presenting information coupled with tests to evaluate if the student retained enough data to be considered worthy of graduation. Without hands on doing, observing or beginning experience to develop skills, children are now expected to decide a life career through analyzing the data. Children learn by doing yet the business of education expects them to “choose wisely” with the data presented. What happens when the “data” presented becomes obsolete before graduation?
We have children in the corporate education system for 16 years and many today have not found a skill to do something for themselves or their community, but saddled with personal education debt that shall never be repaid. The corporate business model reigns supreme. The children have been humanely commoditized.
Acquired skills today must be paid for by the student just for the opportunity to work for the business models of the elite. Fewer today are finding this opportunity. What do those who cannot find corporate opportunities with their data appointed chosen career do? Maybe work as self-employed? But self-employed at what? Silicon Valley is a prime example of programmed obsolescence of college level skills. Carrying a mortgage-sized education debt, how does it feel to live in your vehicle just to make ends meet?
With our corporate education system the children become more individualistic with little or no desire to work for their own local community to be self-sustainable. Instead of the local community helping one another, all becomes personal finances to pay for the commodity that shall only help their own self. Thus turning once small working and thriving communities into the industrial bedroom community where purchased commodities sustain life. The corporations gain, We the people lose more of our skills to support ourselves. Monetized purchase power overwhelms personal skill to be self-sustainable.
When a child is able to understand that they have the ability to personally work to easily learn and earn a skill, hope shall reside in that child. If that child must pay for such skill through college, hope resides upon the financial ability to pay. If that child is unable to utilize what was paid for in college, hope dwindles. If a child cannot pay and skills are not available to work towards, hope is dead.
And when hope is dead among the common people, the social structure decays, hell breaks loose and the corporate elite scramble to find some culprit to blame as a quick fix. A good example of the elite’s quick fix, look at the extremely hot and emotional area of gun control for America.]
Mass shootings have become a normal occurrence today, especially the emotional mass shootings at schools. The decibel level is rising for gun control again. All sides shall engage in relentless arguments citing professional studies and statistics all aimed at gun control, drug abuse, mental illness, and FBI incompetence. Everything in these arguments centers on the results of a gun instead of the origin of why the gun was used.
Results are easy to argue and do not challenge the deep seated culture of our business models and monetized capitalism. Uprooting origins illuminates the failure of industrial scale mass consumption where the value of the earth, natural resources, energy and human life is only worth what it can monetize. The result was that a child used a gun. The origin might be that children have been commoditized and since the latest school shooting, politicized.
Humans are not automated machines that can easily jump career tracks or spend relentless hours in new learning curves. Neither are humans mass consumption money machines that can borrow infinite funds for stuff that wears out long before the debt. Our current industrial business model system has monetized human life where each generation becomes more dependant on the system and less on personal skills for self-preservation and their community. We have lost hope for the common people in America because we have allowed technology and monetized capitalism to rob us of valuable self-sustainable skills. Why did we allow this to happen?
Was it due to rapid technology, education changes, mass consumption, mega-capitalism, corrupt government, horrible labor relations or social bankruptcy? No, all of these are mere results of something far worse and sinister … failed journalism.
Free journalism is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution just behind the freedom of speech. Because the United States is supposed to be a government by the people and for the people, the first amendment was crafted as a means for common citizens to maintain civilian journalism where logic is placed on the table and the pen as the arbitrator for social reasoning. All in hope that American citizens would be able to protect their own government from tyranny and their business from corporate monopoly.
Some call journalism America’s Fourth Branch of government, serving as the social voice of reason, concern, and grievances with influential power far beyond the civic duty of the ballot box. With journalism the people had a voice that could change and mold corporations and governments to be weighted for the people.
The First Amendment was the penned ideal of our leaders hoping that this new nation would not succumb to the ills of Europe. The amendments went into constitutional effect on September 25, 1789 and before the ink was dry journalism was in the process of being sold to the highest bidder. Commercial politicians along with the elite oligarchs commercialized journalism and now everything and everyone is for sale.
Today almost all of journalism is in the clutch of the monetized capitalist elites and propaganda is the journalist’s paycheck. If there ever was a more corporate indoctrinated set of characters for our current journalism business models, the mainstream media has supplied and met all the requirements. The last time I can remember from history for such iron clad control of the media was Joseph Goebbels. Unlike Nazi Germany, America’s journalism is not a product of a government dictator; it is a product of corporate dictators and their political minions.
In the 1970s common Americans feared foreign imports would rob us of jobs, journalism worded the result, but did nothing to keep the table of logic going because the next scoop paid more. When Americans were fearful that industrial pollution would permanently harm our environment, journalism touched on the results but failed to persist because corporate sponsors would pull financial support.
The workers, the men and women of flyover America were able to see and feel the burden that rapid technology coupled with infinite growth models was not only disastrous to their local economy, but was hell bent on exterminating a lifetime of earned personal skills. Where were the journalists?
When Wal Mart moved into the county and eliminated hundreds of skilled jobs, where were the journalists? When Amazon with the internet tore away more of our skilled local jobs, where were the journalists? When many small business leaders failed because of global competition, where were the journalists? Where was the voice for the obligations of the people to work and provide for their own communities? Think about this last statement for a few moments. What happened to our “obligations” as people working for themselves and their own community? Maybe the oligarchs of money do not want us to perform for ourselves?
While the earth, nature, resources and energy is consumed at alarming rates, society is slowly slipping into a state of depression. Our skills must now be purchased but quickly become obsolete due to rapid technology. The only benefactor is the elite. Creativity and skilled intuition to do for ourselves has been replaced by robotic algorithms that only represent monetized income. The monetization of the people has been weighed, measured and found wanting. We have developed a nation of chasing the technology rabbit.
The earth is not infinite, resources are not infinite, nature is not infinite and neither is human hope infinite. The origin of our many woes for America is that we are quickly losing skills to do and create for ourselves, to be a self-sustaining community. The corporate, cosmopolitan mindset that workers shall forever purchase skills so as to purchase the infinite growth of technology to market products has become the blindfold on the elite. Failure of this system is not around the corner; it is here. The lost hope of our children is now displayed as drug addiction, violence, homeless and wandering souls seeking something, anything to give their life a meaning.
Human nature for most people calls for stability. Stable work, stable environment, stable community and a stable pathway to easily develop working skills. In general, many people resist change and for good reason. With rapid change comes the fear of the unknown. How do we bring back stability? What about self-supporting communities? How do we give our children a pathway to easily obtain working skills that allow them the ability to “see and feel” the choices their making? How do we do all of this without turning towards just another monetized social program?
Do we start from the grassroot (bottom up) level trying to get local communities to understand how to revitalize lost skills and become self-sustaing? What if we were able to locally grow our own food, repair our own equipment, care for our nature and the land and so forth? What would happen if we learned how to do better with less outside commodities? Change will not happen because the corporations with government minions would never allow this.
Do we start from the top down (government) level advocating for working skill stability? This will never work because corporations and government prefer their stability, not yours. Where do we start?
We start in the middle with effective journalism. Journalists who are willing to separate themselves from the bonds of corporate commodity traps and are willing to dig deep into the hearts and souls of millions of Americans from flyover country.
Journalism is what started this nation with people like Thomas Paine for “Common Sense” and many of his Crisis essays. Others were Benjamin Franklin with the Pennsylvania Gazette and with Jonas and Anne Catherine Green with the Maryland Gazette. These were just some of the journalists who pushed back against England’s hegemony, helping to form a critical mass of people determined to form their own government.
Without effective journalism then, America would not be. Without effective journalism now, millions of Americans will not be. Unless we come together as a people to retain our skills and stability, we shall die tomorrow buying and selling all of our hopes and dreams.