The Downside of a Service Economy: Loss of Skills

America has been converted from a manufactured goods-exporter to a service and banking based economy for quite some time. This has had multiple effects on the culture and jobs, good and bad. One side effect that I want to discuss is how this “progress” has effected individual humans.

In the farming and industrial eras, most people learned skills that enabled them to take care of themselves and other people, such as a family. Skills such as growing food, building things, using tools, self-defense, communication and other skills related to being resourceful, independent, and productive. Even the less intelligent were taught useful jobs and expected to contribute to the family and community in some way .

When I look around I see a whole lot of consumers and workers who are completely helpless in a crisis. If they have money, they are used to paying someone to do all of the work. If they no longer have money, they’re in big trouble because they have no skills.

We have been taught to 1) expect the government to take care of us and 2) leave the important jobs to the “experts” instead of learning essential skills and knowledge.

With the uncertainty in the world economy, now would be a very good time to start learning how to fix things, build things, grow things, and solve problems. Half of the country lives paycheck to paycheck and owns no property. A good percentage of high school graduates can’t even read well. This is a recipe for disaster.

We need to start teaching children practical skills, along with the wisdom of the Bible and how to get along with others.

I know most of my readers are not helpless. This is a general observation of society as a whole.

6 comments

  1. I think you are right, but a bigger problem is probably despair, powerlessness, hopelessness. People have been programmed into learned helplessness and they have spiritual problems.

    There are a lot of reasons why people are homeless, addiction, mental illness, but here where I live it’s kind of a camping paradise. So what’s the difference between recreational “fun” camping and downtrodden, miserable sleeping outdoors? Pretty much our mindset, our attitude, and our spiritual condition. The activity is pretty much the same.

    I see the same thing in some relatively well off people, they let their places go, start hoarding, just throw their trash in the backyard. These are all emotional, spiritual issues, rather than lacking skills.

    • Good points. There is an epidemic of confusion, a lack of purpose and meaning and an abundance of discontent and entitlement.

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