The New Age


Applicants per student place in 2023:

University of Cambridge 6
RADA (BA Acting) 121

This comes from a Financial Times piece on The Economics of Acting. You might think this merely points out how many dreamers there are. I think it shows something deeper.

The world is changing fast, as anyone can see. Values are changing, beliefs are altering. That’s leaving some, generally older, people bewildered.

One of the big transformations is in the world of work. People no longer feel they have to devote the precious years of their lives to becoming a cog in the great machine, existing in dull offices because that’s how things have always been done.

They want something better, some kind of fulfilment, and they don’t want to play the old game any more. Particularly when it benefits others and not them.

Economic necessity will always force some down hard roads. But they will still dream in the way they might not have done in the last century.

You can see it in the powerful work from home movement, with many under 35 refusing to take jobs that force them to grind unnecessarily in the office for five days a week.

They’re turning down higher pay, ignoring the fury of politicians and company bosses, demanding a new of operating that benefits them.

Recognising the creativity that burns inside and refusing to have it squashed is an act of rebellion against a broken system.

Change can’t come fast enough.

The World Is About To Change Forever

We’re about to reach a turning point for the world, one of those rare moments in history when every single thing changes and all the that we relied on before is replaced by something new.

The combination of Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and the pandemic will unleash disruption on a massive scale in many different areas at the same time. I’ve just worked my way through several reports which show how these crises are going to interlock and force huge changes.

  • Africa is facing an imminent famine and food disruption. Ukraine provides much of its wheat and fertiliser that the war will devastate.
  • An energy crisis looms with shortages and rising prices everywhere, again due to the war.
  • The cost of living is going to go through the roof everywhere because the pandemic, particularly in China, is going to disrupt supply chains for a long time.
  • The old world order is gone. The US, EU and UK will cleave together, but multiple poles of power will arise elsewhere- China, India and in Africa with countries choosing alliances which best suit them.

It all sounds catastrophic but crisis drives change for the better.

The West will be forced to start caring more for countries suffering in East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The global economic system will have to be rethought with new trade arrangements that provide security for all and are less damaging to the planet.

There will be overwhelming investment in renewable energy systems that will tackle the climate emergency far better than anything we planned before.

We’re a weird species. We only make changes for the better when crisis forces it upon us. But history shows us that times like this always result in something significantly better.

Bottom line: the months ahead are going to be a turbulent time that we’re all going to have to get through.

Everything is going to be smashed down (metaphorically). But in times of crisis the best of people emerges and we’re going to start building a world that’s radically different and incredibly better.

Because there’s going to be no alternative.

The End Of Big – Book Review

The End of Big

This is an important book. We’re going through the fastest period of change in human history and one that’s accelerating – everything we’re used to is going to alter in some way, and if you want to survive with your job, finances, health and sanity intact, you have to be prepared for what’s coming. The End of Big is your road map.

Nicco Mele, who sits on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School, examines the changes that are rushing through different sectors: business, the news media, the entertainment industry, politics and government, universities and education, the army and warfare, while touching on other sectors too. As he says: “We’re at the beginning of an epochal change in human history. Scan the headlines every morning – through your Facebook and Twitter feeds – and you can feel history shifting under your feet. Every day I find more and more evidence that we are in the twilight of our own age, and that we can’t quite grasp it, even if we sense something is terribly amiss.”

As the title suggests, the author’s evidence shows that ‘big’ cannot survive – whether that’s big political parties or big companies. We’re not only moving from serving the general to serving the specific, but economies of scale have less impact with the technology that’s emerging. For book lovers, Mele shows, for instance, why the big publishing companies have little hope of continuing in their current form. Don’t get the impression that this is all negative. The author indicates that there are a great many opportunities coming up fast. If you’re a creator, or have particular skills, you’ll thrive. Small businesses and independent retailers are well-placed for success. (The subtitle is: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath.)

Don’t be deterred by what may seem heavy reading matter; it’s really not, and Nicco Mele writes with a very engaging, popular style. Because of the scope, this is necessarily a broad-brush approach so you aren’t going to get bogged down in the detail of a sector that doesn’t interest you. I have minor doubts about a couple of the author’s conclusions, but that’s exactly how it should be. The book tells you exactly what *is* happening, right now, and what’s coming up in the near-future, and then lets you answer your own questions about whether those changes are good or bad.

The pace of change is so great that The End of Big is going to be out of date very quickly. All the more reason to buy it now, so you’re fully prepared for those changes and can plan your own future effectively in these turbulent times. Highly recommended.