(Editor’s note; This is the first in a series of articles that challenges the “degree system” of knowledge measurement as archaic and irrelevant to what is actually happening in the world today. Like the resume system – it is ridiculous if not outright damaging to the prospect of knowledge behaving, and therefore, trading like a financial instrument.
Why do we still care about college ‘degrees”?
The information that fuels the next economic paradigm will not be captured in the form of college degrees; rather, it will be captured in extremely detailed granularity of unique collections of knowledge assets in diverse combinations of persons that solve complex puzzles – and then share the solution with others.
This begs the question, why do we still care about University Degrees?
Information is power. Humans have endeavored, since the beginning of time, to withhold information from each other, typically one group withholding from another.
From Wikipedia; The original Latin word “universitas” was used at the time of emergence of urban town life and medieval guilds, to describe specialized “associations of students and teachers with collective legal rights usually guaranteed by charters issued by princes, prelates, or the towns in which they were located.”
The next economic paradigm, obviously, will consist largely of leaving some history and culture behind. Today the college degree remains a financial and practical time commitment that the majority of people simply cannot reach, and as such, they remain economically invisible.
Knowledge as a Financial Instrument
The college degree (and its super-grade and sub-grade) are how we classify our knowledge inventory. A financial instrument must be classified in terms of a quantity and a quality. The 4-year degree represents the standard quantity while the reputation of the University represents the quality of the asset. The super-grade may include everything above a 4 year degree from an average university and the sub-grade includes everything less. Somehow this represents a proxy for productivity.
Information, Knowledge, and Innovation are deeply and intimately related – like a system. Without one, the other two are useless. Today we classify “information” with systems like the Amazon.com Bookstore Classification system, we classify “knowledge” with the “College Degree Classification System” and we classify “innovation” in terms of consumption, not necessarily efficiency (lack of consumption). These are difficult currencies (Def: methods of exchange, stored value) to convert – making them all less useful as an economic system.
A HUGE opportunity
Converting from one classification system to another is a HUGE social friction and a HUGE social opportunity for any visionary entrepreneur. The successful re-definition of information, knowledge, and/or innovation will in itself set off a chain reaction of economic benefit from which the entrepreneurs of the next economic paradigm will be minted.
So where are the visionaries? Invisible perhaps