The Economic Future of the World: The Rich Gets Richer and the Poor Gets Poorer

Give me 10 minutes with any 30-year-old and I can accurately predict where he’ll end up at age 60 — if he will be rich and financially-free or poor and struggling. By knowing what he did for the past 10 years, I can tell what he will do for the next 40 years.

Try it yourself. Take an honest look at your life so far for the past 10 years.

Do you work 60 hours a week or more?

If so, do you make yourself indispensable to your employer or your client?

Do you use your free-time productively, such as learning a new craft or building a side business?

If you answered no to any of the previous questions, like most people, you’re at risk of ending up poor and struggling.

In a world of class warfare, where the haves have fought against the have-nots since the beginning of time, the balance favors the rich. Thus, the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. The middle class will dissipate — a few joining the rich, the rest left behind with the poor — and the divide will get greater and greater and greater.

The System Has No Soul

Businesses and corporations have no soul. They’re formed for one main purpose: to churn out profits year after year after year.

The system doesn’t have the heart to consider matters unrelated to profits, such as the so-called inequality, or life-work balance, or how little Timmy will eat when his dad no longer works.

The natural progression is to increase profits. Make more sales. Reduce expenses. Trim the fat.

And yes, hiring little Timmy’s dad is an expense.

Your salary? That’s an expense too.

So think where you’ll be when you’re 60 years old. Will you be rich and financially-independent, hoarding a stash of f-you money? Or will you be greeting people in Walmart for $10 an hour (assuming minimum wage will go up due to inflation)?

To answer the question, examine the situation honestly.

Do you even have a job worth protecting? If you make less than $40,000 a year, this article does not apply to you. Read this article instead.

Assuming you have a decent job, how badly does the system need you? And can you compete against the people around you, outsourcing, and automation?

Can the local competition — such as a fresh college graduate — do your job better or well enough for less money?

Can the international competition — such as someone from India or China — do your job better or well enough for less money?

Can robots do your job better or well enough for less money?

Look at Detroit. It was once the car manufacturing capitol in the US. Now desolated, abandoned, and destitute. The manufacturing jobs that once provided good salaries to the workers and good taxes to the city no longer exist. Outsourcing and automation won.

The system had every profitable reason to do what it did. Executives made more at the expense of blue-collar workers. Shareholders made more at the expense of the city. Customers bought a better car for less money.

Little Timmy went hungry, but that won’t change a thing. The system has no soul.

How to Keep Your Job Safe from Local Competition, Outsourcing, and Automation

If you are an Average Joe, what happened to Detroit will most likely happen to you. To prevent that from happening, you must adapt to the environment. We don’t live in the 1960’s anymore. A college diploma and loyalty to your company will not guarantee a middle-class lifestyle.

To adapt, seek out these 4 protective barriers:

1. law
2. face-to-face interactions
3. creativity & skills
4. brand & trust

1. Law

The government makes the rules. Therefore, it will always force its will on the free market. Even though it hemorrhages money, passes stupid laws, and fails to keep up with the times, it does one thing well: protecting its own existence. It won’t allow itself to go extinct. Therefore, it will pass laws to protect itself and the people supporting it. The President, Congress, judges, lawyers, and lobbyists will always have jobs.

If you’re intertwined with the government, you do not follow the law of economics. You are untouchable until the law changes. You can do very, very well just by appealing to those in power.

Example(s) Protected by Law

The Child Protective Services will never go away. The government feels it should have a say in how you take care of your children. No matter if they mess up and destroy families, those social workers are not going anywhere.

If you’ve over flown, you encountered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — possibly the most hated government agency in the country. After 9/11, the government feels it must keep our airports secure. Instead of doing so efficiently, it prolongs the check-in process by at least an hour — harassing pregnant women, the elderly, and patriotic Americans. The people working there aren’t exactly the brightest either. Of course, the “Einstens” are not going anywhere either.

As you can see, I’m not a fan of this protection, but it works.

2. Face-to-Face Interactions

Service-based profession tends to require face-to-face interactions. If your job requires meeting customers, consider yourself lucky because you have a built-in barrier against outsourcing and automation. A person from India or China can’t meet with customers in person. A robot cannot placate angry customers as well as a human punching bag.

However, face-to-face interactions do not protect you from local competition. As long as someone in the same geographical area can do your job, you’re at risk of being replaced.

If your job requires you to be there, you will have a hard time scaling your time. You trade time for money, limiting the amount you can make.

Example(s) Protected by Face-to-Face Interactions

Waitresses, teachers, physical therapists, and physicians. Self-explanatory. It’ll be a cold day in hell when little Timmy sits in front of a classroom, taught by teachers in India through video streams.

3. Creativity & Skills

Of the protective barriers, this is my favorite for two reasons:

First, it offers the most protection. Each person could be creative. When each person creates — but not copies — he will make something the world have never seen. Creativity is how you think, and how you think is unique. Your creativity differs from mine. Therefore, if you can instill creativity into your job, you will have no competition.

By itself, creativity does nothing. You must translate your thoughts into action — into something tangible. This is where skills come in. Ideas are easy, but execution is hard. Anyone can talk the talk, but few can walk the walk. Every day, turn your creativity into something tangible. Become a craftsman. Make art. Do this well enough and you will never have to beg for a job. People will come to you.

If you must choose between creativity or skills, choose skills.

Second, anyone can cultivate creativity and hone skills. Come up with something new every day. As James Altucher would say, become an idea machine. Then turn your idea into reality. Practice deliberately to craft something the world has never seen. That’s it.

But so few people take advantage of this barrier. They think the cost of time and consistent effort is too high. They would rather watch Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian. What a shame. They could have been different from everyone else.

Example(s) Protected by Skills Only (No Creativity)

My friend said that if he was a mechanic, he would specialize in repairing exotic cars. I don’t know much about exotic cars, but I know it is a darn good idea.

Who owns these cars? Rich people. They can pay for the repairs and are willing to pay well. (Who buys a $200,000 car to just let it rot in the garage?)

Who can repair these cars? Only a few people. You don’t need creativity, but you need technical know-how that few people have. You must go beyond what average mechanics can do.

Example(s) Protected by Creativity & Skills

Any job you would associate with artists — actor, comedian, writer, musician. It’s pretty darn difficult to replace Seth Godin. But these examples only scratch the surface.

As long as you can come up with a solution and implement it in a way no one else can, you’re protected. The barrier applies to a wide range of industries.

Reach new customers for your best-fitting pants without physical stores? You qualify.

Modify judo to suit your small frame and dominate the world of fighting? You bet.

Facing an army of 150,000 troops with only 100 of your own? So you open the gate and order your men play instruments? And the enemy retreats, thinking it was a trap? Yes.

4. Brand & Trust

There’s something magical about consistent excellence. By doing excellent work day after day, year after year, people will trust you. You will build a reputation — a brand even. And once people trust you, they will come to you by default.

Why go to someone else — someone unproven — when they can get the sure thing from you? People like consistency. No wonder McDonald’s burgers look and taste the same in one country or another. Consistency builds trust.

Imagine this scenario:

The economy tanked. Your company lost money. People need to go. You are a superstar. You bring results year after year. You command a hefty salary, but you bring more to the table. Your boss and your boss’ boss know that you can deliver under pressure.

There is another guy — new guy straight from college. He makes 1/10th of what you make. But unproven. Maybe he’s a superstar or maybe he’s a dud.

One of you has to go. Which will it be? The expensive guy who can bring great results? Or the cheap guy who maybe can bring results?

The answer’s obvious.

Remember … it is not about the costs, but about the benefits. Bring enough benefits year after year after year and you will build your brand and grow your reputation. You can then raise your price and people will still come back for more.

Example(s) Protected by Brand & Trust

I used to travel a lot all over the world. So by extension, I’ve seen the inside of many airports. One year, I landed at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo for a 6 hour layover. It was brutal.

After a 12-hour flight, I had to stretch my legs. I walked around, browsed the duty-free stores, and looked for something to eat. Most of the restaurants sold Japanese food. Each had some customers but wasn’t crowded.

However, one restaurant was so packed, the customers had nowhere to sit. Still, people piled in. Can you to guess its name?

..

….

……

……..

……….

McDonald’s.

Most of the guests in Narita were foreigners like me. They never had Japanese food and did not want to try something new. They were tired and cranky and did not want to risk an awful meal. They wanted something good enough.

People don’t go to the beloved fast-food chain for quality food. They go for consistent food.

More Barriers, More Protection, More Money

Of course, your job will not have all 4 barriers, especially if you’ve just started out. But choose the right field and do excellent work and you will be untouchable in due time.

Let me give you an example of a job with multiple protective barriers:

A family medicine physician who just finished residency will have a fairly secure job. His job has legal protection (in the form of a medical license). His job requires face-to-face interactions with patients. With the shortage of doctors in the area, he does not worry about the local competition. There are none!

He practices for 5 years. He has good bedside manners and practices good medicine. His patients trust him. He has a reputation for being the best primary care doctor in the state.

This doctor will never be out of a job. Never.

He should plan for the next stage: scaling his income.

Here’s an example of a job with no protective barriers:

A national tax preparation chain trained a community college drop-out to be a “tax consultant.” He spent 1 month in mandatory training to learn how to use the company’s proprietary software. He glosses over the tax laws, but don’t know them well because they’re too complex. He just needs to get paid. He does the minimum amount to squeak by. He goes home to his parents and spends nights and weekends smoking weed. Work sucks! Good thing it’s only for 3 months.

His job is not protected by the law. It does not require face-to-face interactions. With minimal knowledge of tax laws, the tax returns he prepares are on par to what the customers can do themselves at home. No creativity and minimal skills are involved with his work.

He has a cog job. And if he doesn’t shape up, by the time he’s 60, he may find himself as a Walmart greeter. Kids who post YouTube videos have more income security than him.

What You Must Do

Do everything you can to build up your protective barriers.

If you’re lazy, work for the government. You can be as lazy as you want and no one can touch you.

If you’re a people person, get a job that requires face-to-face interaction.

If you’re willing to work hard, you’ll have the most flexibility. The following are for those who can roll up their sleeves and get dirty:

Your goal is to hone your creativity and grow your skills.

1. Choose any field.

2. You must work a minimum of 60 hours a week.

Don’t have a job? Then dump 60+ hours a week into becoming a craftsman. Learn as much about your chosen field and then work on your own projects. Build a portfolio of what you can do. Then keep on adding to the portfolio every week. Publish it for the world to see.

Have a job, but work only 40 hours a week? Become as useful as possible in your primary job. Do more than required. Tackle new projects. Grow. Then spend the other 20+ hours a week into becoming a craftsman. You may not accomplish as much as your unemployed, but workaholic brethren due to a limited amount of time, but you too must ship. So if the guy above adds to his portfolio every week, add to yours once every 2 or 3 weeks.

By putting in enough time day after day, week after week, and year after year, people will notice your excellence. You will build a brand. You will have a reputation for delivering excellence.

Choosing creativity & skills as your barrier is the best thing you can do to protect and GROW your income. But you must work.

Because good jobs are increasingly scarce, if you keep chugging along unscathed until age 60, two things will happen:

First, you won’t have to work as a Walmart greeter.

Second, you will do very well financially.

The pot of gold grows every year, but the people sharing the pot shrinks. No wonder the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.

You must choose which side you want to be on. If you don’t, the system will make the default choice for you. And you wouldn’t want that.

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