Don Tapscott has a great article in The Guardian arguing that across the globe, old institutions have failed and importantly, left global youth without opportunity. The move from the industrial age (Fordist) to the entrepreneurial age is a transition most governments are not equipped to manage. From Tapscott:
A common thread to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and protests elsewhere in the Middle East and north Africa is the soul-crushing high rate of youth unemployment. Twenty-four percent of young people in the region cannot find jobs. To be sure, protesters were also agitating for democracy, but nonexistent employment opportunities were the powerful catalyst.
Youth unemployment is similarly dire in other parts of the world. In the UK, young people aged 16 to 24 account for about 40% of all unemployed, which means almost 1 million young adults are jobless. In Spain more than 40% of young people are unemployed. In France the rate is more than 20%, and in the US it’s 21%. In country after country, many young people have given up looking for work. A recent survey in the UK revealed that more than half of the 18- to 25-year-olds questioned said they were thinking of emigrating because of the lack of job prospects.
Unemployed young people comprised a large portion of the crowd that marched in London on March 26 to protest against the economic policies of the government. Fortunately, the protest was largely peaceful. But youth unemployment will continue to stay high, and the coalition’s austerity measures are not going to help. We’re deluding ourselves if we believe the young will simply continue to be stoical and deferential to authority.
Today’s society is failing to deliver on its promise to young people. We said that if they worked hard, stayed out of trouble, and attended school, they would have a prosperous and fulfilling life. It turns out we were inaccurate, if not dishonest. And then we rub salt in the wound by saying we’re in a “jobless recovery” – an oxymoron to tens of millions of young people who are having their hopes dashed.
Widespread youth unemployment is one facet of a deeper failure. The society we are passing to today’s young people is seriously damaged. Most of the institutions that have served us well for decades – even centuries – seem frozen and unable to move forward.
Lack of opportunity + youthful zeal + communications technology has helped foment much of the backlash — from London to Cairo.
Tapscott calls for jobs, but fails to mention entrepreneurship directly. Not only is high impact entrepreneurship key to job growth, but importantly, it is a mechanism for young people’s passion, future orientation, and technological prowess to drive sustainable economic development and increased living standards
Learn more about entrepreneurship and development, download a copy of Global Entrepreneurship and the United States. This report, prepared for the U.S. Small Business Administration, ranks 71 countries across the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index and its 3 sub-indexes.