Generation gap? Balancing scarcity and abundance thinking

I look at kids who complain about having only a 4 Mps Internet access or about having an 8 rather than 32 Gb iPhones, who can do their home assignments by effortlessly accessing information from the Internet without even processing it, who measure their coolness not by what they know but by how many Facebook friends or Twitter followers they have.

I wonder how this generation will be able to cope with the extraordinary problems of scarcity of resources (oil, water, food) that we are going to leave to them as our legacy. And I feel that only blending our ability to master scarce resources and find individual solutions with their ability to socialize and crowdsource will move us all forward. But what I do not see is how that balance is being determined, developed or enforced from when they are in school to when they join the workforce and beyond.

Very much in the vein of the Digital Nation documentary, Andrea DiMaio’s reflective post on his fears for the generation of digital natives ultimately points to a broader theme of the conflict between scarcity and abundance thinking.

Personally, I’m slightly more optimistic about the situation. But equally as much as the digital generation needs to learn about dealing with scarcity in the physical world, I think that the generation of digital immigrants (and perhaps the digital laggards) that DiMaio describes also need to take some time to reflect deeply on the power of digital abundance and how that abundance can be brought to bare on issues of scarcity.

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