In 1830 if you lived in America on the frontier you lived a very different life to the one that you had left back in Europe. But to get to this new life, you had to get on a ship, get to St Louis and then take a wagon train out west.
There were two worlds The Culture of the Old world and the Culture of the Frontier
Today this split in culture is back. The difference is that there is no ocean or continent to cross. Today the ocean is in our minds.
The frontier is here now. Enough people now live the new or aspire to it to make it a future that most of us might take in time. Remember, after the railway was built in the 1860's 50 million people left the old world for the new in the next 50 years. Once the tipping point is reached a better offer for life will beat the lesser.
Here are 2 short descriptions of the Old World and the New. Just to make it honest, I used to live in the old and thought it was the only way - so I am not being judgemental here.
The Old World
In the old country, you have a job or see the job as central. So you accept that you work away from the home for an organization. You have a lot of debt. You have student debt, car debt. You don't have a mortgage because your student debt prevents this. You rent. You live in a big and expensive city because this is where the jobs are. You have to put your kids into school because you work outside the home. You both commute for 2 hours each a day.
Your kids are 10 and 12. They have no idea what they want to do later in life. They do nothing around the house. The boy doesn't read very well and has had behaviour problems at school where is is profoundly bored. You have been advised to put him on Ritalin but have refused. When they are 18, it is anticipated that a 4 year residential BA will end up with $100,000 of debt. Unemployment for 18 - 35 year olds is now 23% and is expected to climb to 50% in 10 years as technology and globalization continues to kill jobs.You expect that the education system will be there but you don't know how you will pay for it.
You expect the system to be there but you don't do anything to take care of yours self. You rely on processed food because you don't know how to cook well and you don't have the time or energy to prepare meals from scratch. You are both over weight and pre-diabetic. Your kids are both over weight. You don't sit down together to share any meals. There is not a single member of your family that lives closer than 1,000 miles away. You expect the system to look after you when you are old.
In the last 2 winter's there have been terrible storms and you have lost power for weeks. You are pissed off with the the mayor and the utility. There have been layoffs in both your workplaces and you worry about your jobs. You have have no savings. Your debt makes that impossible.
The New World
In new you don't have a job and nor do you seek one. You work at home and you make things. You are a coder. Your spouse works in a co working space near your home. She is a personal coach. You are both artisans with deep skills. You are deeply connected to your customers on a personal basis. You have no debt. You have a small home. You own in a small community where housing is affordable. You educate your kids at home and with several other families close by. You don't have a home classroom.
They learn by getting engaged by what is going on. You read to them all the time as small kids and they both learned to read well by 6. By 10 it is clear what they are really interested in. Your son is mad for drones and you have built several together and he has been using the CAD side of you Mac to drive the 3D printer to make many of the parts. Your skill as a programmer has been invaluable. He watched you work ever since he was an infant. You had him on your knee coding as he learned to read. He is selling them now to a few adults and has a small business of his own. Your daughter is fascinated by carpentry. This is something that you know nothing about but your neighbour is a carpenter and she got the bug by hanging out with him. She is his apprentice and works full time as such. She can do that at 12 because she does not have to attend school. All the math that she needs comes via her work. Your 10 year old has to read at a college level to learn more about design and has the math skills of a math grad. They have never had a lesson.
You eat real food and take care of your health. All at home cook. Your wife's mother lives with you and she does a huge amount of work in the garden where you grow most of your veggies and raise chickens. All the kids have jobs to do in the family household economy. Your extended family have been moving ever closer to you in the last few years and you can now see them all the time. Your dad and mum live very close to you and host a large family meal every 2 weeks. You have a very small car and the kids bike around town.The family own a van and a truck and many of the larger tools that you all need jointly.
All the family have good health. They eat well and have a complete social world. They all use their bodies. They all have a lot of time outside from work to just hang out. The surplus cash flow goes into making the family more resilient. Last year you all built a large green house on your brother's place. The larger family share this. This year the family will buy a large wood splitter so that all the wood you use for heating can be bought in 8 foot lengths and cut up and split by you all. The family supply the labour. In large items like this, the family share in the cash costs. As a result the family are not exposed to the global food system and only in a small way to oil costs. The family use almost nothing from the state and are largely self sufficient.
So which world will be best for you over the next 50 years?