"Find the intersection of your interests, your skills, and the market.
If you have only interests and skills, you have a hobby.
If you have skills and a market, you have a job.
Only if you have all three do you have a career."
from What I Wish I Knew When I was Twenty (lecture given at Stanford U)http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1549&author=89
Had a fun talk with my sis today, here's a general overview of our chat over the birthday table, and my own thoughts as well, picked up from here and there. (Happy birthday, dad!)
Capitalism is a system and its engine is profit ; in order for capitalism to exist and function, it is inevitable that there are winners (a minority) and the rest of us are losers. Our whole American society is based on capitalism, from education to work, all aspects of our lives; if we dont have a job, we don't have a "life". The most extreme and efficient version of capitalism is slavery-- minimal costs with most production effort; in terms of capitalism, slavery was inevitable, and justified the OWNERSHIP of human beings during its era. Likewise, today we have an illusion of control over our lives, but in truth we are just the essential wheels of the system that serves a few; everything is all about OWNERSHIP-- rights, labor, workers, products, etc. ... we are working for companies, and as long as we do that, we are still under someone else's control.
How this affects education and vice versa. We are taught how to become the best pigs in the pen to be chosen for the market; we are to be molded into workers of the system (inevitably losers), not to be at the top of it. Since when did my high school ever encourage us to go beyond "laywer" "doctor" "engineer", etc? Older generations continue on this tradition; the tiny percentage of higher class is supported by the middle working class, who hope that with enough education and hard work to be one day elevated. But education only aims us for middle class jobs. Since when did high school teach us about being entreupeners, the next big Google or Facebook or so on? Because the only way to break out of the system is not to become another worker, but to work completely outside of the system, either by earning passive money (like building a website that pays you for hits even when youre not managing it) or by starting up something completely new, like Google-- you cant make a profit by working, because whatever money you "earned" is paid for (un)equally by your labor.
The ideal thing to do would be to form a market based not on profit, but rather on genius... on passion, creativity, vision. Or to find problems in society and find a solution for it (and to get your deserved share of the glory). Passion does make a difference in starting trends, and capitalism can be used to explain the downfalls of several lines of products. Let's take comic books for an example (credit to Marshall Vandruff's "How to get Hired in the Arts" seminar). Back in the day when comics were just starting out and not profitable at all, those who were passionate about comics kept making comics despite the lack of market for it. They did it because they loved it, and cared about its quality, and the quality showed through-- as such, popularity rises, and people really love the stuff, because it's genuinely good. Then, when capitalism realizes that there is a market for comics, the crap starts coming in-- comics churned out not for the sake of making good quality comics, but for the sake of selling it. Of course, then the quality drops, and the audience realizes they're getting crap, and start losing interest. The audience then looks to the next big thing (animation?). The trend goes on-- genuinely good stuff, market interest, then the flow of crap, then the downfall of the previous golden age in which the good stuff was genuinely good.
Anyone hear people complain about "how all the anime suck now" or "the video games lack story" or "that movie was all about the looks"? Yeah. Apply that to other areas of life, too. What about "education really sucks" now and "what the hell is high school/college preparing me for"?
For an inspiring and challenging lecture on Creativity--and how schools kill it--, go to http://www.ted.com/index.php/speakers/view/id/69
and click on his lecture in the upper right hand column. He is very engaging and thought-provoking.
So again, don't be a conformist. Feel free to share your thoughts though, I'm all ears and willing to listen and learn.