The post-pandemic world is accelerating toward a new economic model. One, where “Labour” is about connectivity, responsiveness, autonomy, inventiveness, and such labour is not measured in time units, but, rather in the strength and spread of one’s network. Network has emerged as the predominant organizational form. This economic model can be called Cognitive Capitalism and is different from Industrial Capitalism in which Labour was measured in time units and hierarchy and hierarchically organized markets were the predominant organizational form.
This is a new way of thinking and a new way of value creation which the youth globally have begun preferring in larger numbers over the past few years and this has been widely reported under millennial workforce studies and the rise of the “gig economy”. This is an opportunity for India since as the world economic model is transitioning to Cognitive Capitalism, India finds itself with the largest young population in the world, a decentralized federal structure and a leadership with the ability to navigate the geopolitics that civilizational shifts typically cause.
Make no mistake, there is a civilizational shift underway. We have entered an era when the entire structure of power that held the world together is slowly loosening and a different structure is taking form. At the centre of this new structure is Knowledge.
I am using a computer to string together words to write this article and I might have something known as Digital Literacy. Just 50 years ago, anyone with the slenderest ability to use a computer would be described as a “wizard” or a “giant brain”. I am neither. Just someone who is literate in English and owns a computer with word processing software.
The same cannot be said about other information leaving our Digital devices today. Why does the provider of the operating system for your phone need to get a location heartbeat? Why does a provider of food delivery services need to access the storage on your device? That’s because “knowing” has become central to the creation of wealth. Information is the anvil on which new knowledge is forged.
Information is the measure of the number of alternatives for something (Claude Shannon, Information Theory, 1952). By that definition, India is the world’s most information rich country not just because of the sheer number of somethings and somebodies that inhabit the land, but, also the sheer diversity and change that happens here.
For the past 10 years or so, the phrase “Data is the new oil” has been making the rounds driven by the Big data companies who have been increasingly figuring out and perfecting models for the monetization of data. In the same time period, money has also become increasingly informationalized.
Why is this happening? Knowledge is wealth and advances in big data and deep learning could potentially rewire the wealth creation model from K-I-K to I-K-I.
K-I-K: Application of Knowledge creates Information which drives newer Knowledge.
I-K-I: Doesn’t need Knowledge to start the wealth creation process.
This opens up huge opportunities of wealth creation for India with our large youth population, our inherently entrepreneurial and collaborative culture and our new, sparkling Digital Finance infrastructure on the India Stack. Decentralized, trust-based, permissioned Digital Infrastructures will enable local innovations and a more spread-out wealth creation. We need to provide Digital enabled entrepreneurship opportunities for our youth without barriers of literacy, especially English literacy. That’s a big ask, but, we have the technical, scientific and business talent to pull this off and make it our national mission. The decade of 2020-2030 will be driven by Entrepreneurs taking advantage of the shift in the economic order and India has the potential to rise to leadership position. In cognitive capitalism, leadership is also different – leaders exist to serve the people and not vice versa. Maybe that will be the case in Geopolitics too once India rises to that position?
About the author:
Anup Pai is a 2X Entrepreneur currently operating as Founder and CEO of 2 companies and Angel Investor and Mentor for several others. He is passionate about Decentralizing the Internet and Grassroots Entrepreneurship.
eSamudaay is a Platform for entrepreneurs to start and operate “cookie-cutter” digital businesses toward measurable goals. 1by0GRIT is a network of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Together, these two companies aim to spark mass digital enabled entrepreneurship in non-Metro India.