We hear a lot of noise about creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. These are supposedly the defining traits that will separate the winners from the losers in the new hyper-competitive meritocracy. But for most of us, the real keys to success are far more old-fashioned . They are self-regulation, conscientiousness and diligence. More than ever, perhaps, 21st-century success will require 19th- century values.
Education alone won’t do much good for people who aren’t motivated or disciplined enough to acquire it. These people are mainly men. We all know that low- skilled men will be our world’s biggest losers, but it’s often not lack of skills that holds them back. It’s lack of the aptitudes and attitudes required for success. These are the men who can’t stay in school, can’t apply themselves, can’t take direction or defer rewards, can’t be reliable and can’t function well in teams. “Young male hotheads who just can’t follow orders are pretty well doomed,” economist Tyler Cowen says in Average is Over, a sharp and sobering book on who will get ahead, and why.
Tyler Cowen adapts his forthcoming book, Average Is Over, into a NYT essay:
Self-driving vehicles threaten to send truck drivers to the unemployment office. … There are even computers that can grade essay exams with reasonable accuracy. … Who will prosper and who won’t in this new kind of machine economy?
Who will do well? THE CONSCIENTIOUS … PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO COMPUTERS Your smartphone will record data on your life and, when asked, will tell you what to do. … PEOPLE WITH A MARKETING TOUCH … MOTIVATORS … Managers who are motivators of first-rate talent will see their earnings continue to rise.
Who will be most likely to suffer from this technological revolution? PEOPLE WITH DELICATE FEELINGS Computing and software will make it easier to measure performance and productivity. It will be harder to gloss over our failings and maintain self-deception. … PEOPLE UNLUCKY IN HEALTH CARE … PEOPLE WHO DON’T NEED MONEY … people who are bright, culturally literate, Internet-savvy and far from committed to the idea of hard work directed toward earning a good middle-class living. … have the incomes of the lower middle class and the cultural habits of the wealthy or upper middle class. … POLITICAL RADICALS: … We’re … aging rapidly, and that tends to make society more peaceful, less violent and less extreme in all directions. (more)