Creating and amassing wealth is more than just a necessity. For centuries, the practice of climbing the ladder to richness has led to wars, influenced literature, and shaped cultures. Whether wealth comes in the form of money or food, all civilizations have pursued it.
The system of wealth creation is based on the current worldview, which in turn is based on the way science is studied and perceived. Most people will not be aware of existing paradigms of wealth creation. They will be too busy accumulating and creating wealth rather than being concerned with the process which they and their wealth underwent.
Existing paradigms in wealth creation drive economies, and any shortcomings in existing paradigms can lead to changes being made in the wealth creation background. A new science can pique the interest of people and shift investments in different directions. A shift in interest and investments can create new worldviews. With new science and worldviews, a new system of wealth creation can be developed. This paradigm shift can be sustained for as long as the system is relevant. Again, shortcomings will be found, and again, changes will be made. The process goes on.
Primitive humans were nomadic. They moved around and lived from day to day, saving little for stores and subsisting on what food they could come across. As soon as they settled down, and as soon as agriculture became a way of life, humans learned to keep provisions. Keeping provisions meant keeping wealth. Holding wealth gave humans the chance to hold sway over those who held much less wealth. The gap between those who had between those who had none grew and widened.
At this point, localized wealth creation was rampant, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the Medieval Age. Rich landowners employed poor farmers to work as slaves or fiefs. Wealth was amassed by force. Compensation came only if a harvest was successful, and if the fruits of the harvest could be sold. Only a few people had wealth, and they were not very charitable to begin with.
As human skills stretched beyond agriculture, the Industrial Age began, and centralized wealth creation became the paradigm. Slaves became employees who were compensated with wages and salaries. As payments were standardized, so were companies. Monopolies abounded, and competition was low.
Science, however, was on the upswing, and as more and more people were educated in science, more and more people began to understand industry and its workings. Slowly, competition rose, monopolies were broken, and jobs once given to a few people could already be held by many.
With the spread and abundance of industries came advances in science – and with these advances came discoveries that created more jobs. With vaccination came epidemiologists. With the discovery of DNA came molecular biologists. With the Internet came web designers, graphic artists, and database creators.
With the rise of the information age came mass privatization. The wealth creation paradigm consisted of communities without boundaries, where everyone could specialize in everything. A scientist could be a journalist but specialize in nuclear physics. An academician could be an economist consulting with the government on the feasibility of introducing new agricultural crops. As the World Wide Web crossed slowly through the world, careers crossed paths with each other and merged.
If the Medieval age brought power to the hands of the land-wealthy, and if the Industrial age bowed to those who were industry-wealthy, the Modern age shifts wealth to those who possess brains. The world’s wealthiest man is Bill Gates, a nerd who is still laughing all the way to the bank.
The mass privatization of the modern age has seen companies helping each other move forward. If a food company wants progress, it must consult with scientists to conduct safety tests on its products, nutritionists to proclaim its products as superior, advertising agencies to market its product, and complete eBusiness solutions to move the mortar-and-brick office to the Internet.
The paradigm is all about teamwork – to create wealth, everyone must help each other succeed. No longer are the lesser indebted to make the greater richer. Everyone has to run the race, but everyone must hold hands to reach the finish line together.
Some researchers have called this the age of free intraprise, the age of mass decentralization of wealth creation. This is an age where anyone and everyone can be rich, and where anyone and everyone can do so without being answerable to a higher power. People not only receive salaries or wages – they can receive compensation based on their worth, or a percentage of what they have sold. They can make wealth and receive it in various ways.
With the Internet bringing people together, the world has become one large family. The potential to create and amass wealth is no longer with one person – it is given to many, and yet these many elements working apart must still work together in order to succeed individually.
For the moment, with knowledge readily available, and with intelligence prized, the current paradigm seems suitable. How long it will last, and what will happen next, however, is still beyond the predictive powers of today’s brain-driven society.