Chapter 1 - The Future
Japan is the world's biggest direct-selling market, involving 1.2 million women distributors and a turnover exceeding $20 billion a year.30
In 1963 Mary Kay Ash founded Mary Kay Cosmetics with a mission of promoting business opportunities for women and teaching women how to care for their skin. Today its 275,000 beauty consultants turn over $1 billion.
But the biggest growing network by far is the Internet, with its thousands of individual networks, and the opportunity for anyone to sell his or her niche products to customers around the planet.
For employment, in particular, the small companies are vital. Says John Naisbitt: "It's the young entrepreneurial companies that are creating nearly all the new jobs in the United States. In the 1980s America created 22 million brand-new jobs; there were that many more people in paid employment at the end of the eighties. And 90 percent of those 22 million jobs were in companies of 50 or fewer employees. That is the new economy. That is what's creating the new wealth-creating capacity. So if you want to see what the new company looks like, you look at the young companies, not the old household-word companies that are shrinking and are very slow to change."31
In many of these companies, the educational need is for thinking and conceptual skills, risk-taking, experimenting, and an openness to change and opportunity. How much of that is taught at schools?
7. The new age of leisure
British educator, broadcaster
and business consultant Charles Handy puts the figures neatly in The Age of Unreason.
When he first started work in the 1940s it was standard for each person to spend 100,000
hours in his or her lifetime in paid work, although we never thought of it in those terms.
But we generally worked around 47 hours a week, for 47 weeks of the year for 47 years -
generally from age 16, 17 or 18. And that worked out at just over 100,000 hours. Handy
predicts that very soon - at least in developed countries - we will each need to spend
only around 50,000 hours of a lifetime in paid work. And he thinks we will each split that
into different and convenient "chunks".