Since the dawning of the internet something strange has been happening in our capitalist society. Something which if you went to an economics professor with, they’d probably laugh you out of the building. People with jobs, well paid jobs, are spending their time producing content and services and giving them away for free.
This is bizarre behaviour in world we live in but if you look around you, you can’t deny that it’s happening and that it’s affecting our society. Intelligent people are collaborating to allow the wold the tools and services it requires to better itself. Wikipedia, Linux and Apache are all projects that are the culmination of thousands of hours work and they are given out for absolutely nothing. Why is this?
This mind-set is very much routed in science. Science has expanded so much over the last century and the knowledge base is so vast that we no longer live in the world of the solo scientist. The days of Newton, Maxwell and Einstein are mostly over. The way scientists discover things now are in groups of varying size containing individuals with different expertise however, this doesn’t explain why people work like this for free.
The services I mentioned above all fall under a particular name. They are open source. Anyone can add to them, anyone can edit them and anyone can do anything they want to them. What is mostly surprising is that in the internet age we live in today, with all the trolls out there, no one messes these things up. Again why is that?
These questions can be answered with the word, purpose. The people who contribute to these projects are serving what’s called the purpose motive. People spend their day to day lives in jobs that ultimately make money for someone else. Many people don’t feel like what they do serves any purpose to the world as a whole. Purpose is a huge factor when it comes to motivating a person to do almost anything. We live in a world were not everyone has the ability to gain a good education, so thousands of people have band together to create the ultimate educational tool, Wikipedia. It serves a higher purpose which is really exciting and has motivates so many more people to contribute. This is incredible if you think about it. This is society doing what governments cannot and most importantly, for free.
The internet is a strange place where producing copies of anything costs nothing. You see an image you think your friend will like, so you just send them a copy of it. You can both enjoy it at the same time. With the dawn of 3D printers you can see that the internet is going to traverse into the sharing of physical objects, which can be terrifying for businesses.
This idea of sharing might seem odd at first and one which you’d not expect to spread much further than the internet but, if you take the time to look around you, you can see it directly affecting the business world. Facebook is the biggest entertainment medium in the world, yet it doesn’t produce any of its own content. Uber is the largest taxi company on the planet, yet it doesn’t own any vehicles. Airbnb is one of the largest travel accommodation business’ in the world, yet it doesn’t own any real estate. This is the internet directly affecting the way which we look at the world and it’s only just beginning.
Millennials have been the first generation to have the internet for a large amount of their lives. The internet community is vastly different than any local one and it’s affected the way we think. This directly correlates with the way which young people view the governments of the world. Governments present this ideal life where you own a job which will let you save up enough money to own a car and eventually a house. But the reality is far from that. Many young people struggle to get jobs and even when they do get one they struggle to save enough to get onto the property ladder. Things such as this force young people to look at the world differently, maybe using a viewpoint that the internet has taught us. Will people own houses in the future? Or will they share properties with one another?
This might seem like a farfetched idea, everyone will want their own property to raise children, so let’s look at another one. Millennials are also the most environmentally conscious members of society. We have always lived in a world were climate change and global warming has been a problem. This leads us to look at the world and see that fossil fuels in cars are the biggest contributors to this problem. With fuel being the price that it is and insurance prices going through the roof, will people own cars in the future? With services such as blablacar.co.uk, megabus and other cheap travel options, many young people don’t feel the need to own a car, especially if they live near a fairly big town or city.
The world we live in tomorrow will be vastly different from the past and the biggest changes will come from the way we view it. The internet has already had a huge impact in the way we interact however, it can clearly be seen that the full effect that the World Wide Web will have in unpredictable. These ideas might seem unlikely but if you told your parents 30 years ago that today we would have portable squares of infinite knowledge in our pockets, they’d say that it was magic.