We're experiencing a radical societal change that encompasses everything from relationships to money.
Advancements in technology have allowed access to information to become free and plentiful, making the traditional method of memorization-based learning obsolete. Plus, digital and social media allows for easy network expansions of interpersonal relationships.
To take full advantage of this new, digitalized landscape, we must understand precisely how this new system works: Goodbye capitalism, welcome "talentism".
Yes, in today's world, especially Western societies, advancements occur daily—too quickly to seamlessly assimilate them into our cultures. But, being able to react quickly to these changes is the modern key to success.
Economically, we are witnessing an era of mass unemployment (especially in Southern Europe). Now, many people are finding that their life plan (based on the accepted trajectory to go to school, study hard, secure a job, work for a number of years, then finally retire) is becoming an unrealistic goal.
Big companies put a premium on creating the most economically efficient workflow. By incorporating concepts like automated systems and outsourcing work, companies are able to cut jobs (and payroll) to increase profit. This economic transition values financial efficiency above human concerns (like dependent families and workers' quality of life). In this new framework, it's the ideas that are most important.
Why are the people with the ideas is so well-paid? Because ideas are the only thing that can not be produced on command in a sweatshop-style factory. There is no machine in the world capable of producing ideas. Humans are greater than machines precisely because our creative minds can produce intangible ideas and imagine creative solutions in a way that machines never could.
The future presents an economic landscape that values creativity and design. It values the ability to imagine what lies beyond what's right ahead; it values visionaries. It values the notion that a company should not only serve its shareholders, but society and potentially the whole planet, as well.
In his book, "Free Agent Nation," Daniel H. Pink called the new economy the freelance economy. Professionals meet to carry out projects, and are paid as contractors on an agreed upon, non-uniform rate.
The entrepreneur—the person who turns an idea into a reality—is most important in today's economy, and the growth of digital media allows for many more entrepreneurs. As time passes, new projects require less start-up money. The economy of the future will not be centered upon capital, but rather, talent. And, that future has already arrived.