Thoughts on an aspect of the youth of today . . . the creation of “the machines of the economy”

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I found myself calling the kids of today “the machines of the economy”.  I found myself stating this as a result of watching how everything associated with kids, nowadays, tends to revolve around certain specific subjects.  Basically, what I began to notice is that nothing is about “life” and “living”, or even being a human being.  It seems that everything is about, in the end, work!   The parents, adults, and society seem to be trying to turn the kids into little “machines of the economy”.  The whole orientation for children is for this end.  I first began to realize this when I told someone ” . . . the next time someone speaks of their kids and mentions the word University I’m going to scream!”  You can’t talk about kids without hearing the word college or University or how ‘smart’ the kids are or, later on, how great their jobs are.  Its like this country has become fixated on this single idea.  The whole orientation for children, as layed out by the adults and society, is to become a “machine of the economy”. 


My observation is that this orientation is not, necessarily, motivated by greed and personal ambition alone.  This more personal point of view seemed more prevalent in the older generation.  These later “machine of the economy” generations are different.  They appear to be more socially oriented, motivated by social conditions and pressure than by personal ones, which is what we saw in the previous generation.  This gives it a whole new context and point of view.  In fact, society seems to of caused it overall.  It almost appears as if, over many years, the society created an organized concerted effort to create the “machine of the economy”.   There has been a great campaign for this that has gone on for decades.  It has support from the government, the schooling system, the media, society, and the parents, just about everything has become in league with it over the years.  It has so much support that it has now become so extensive and encompasses all the kids life that one could say that a “machine of the economy” lifestyle has been created.  A whole way of life has been created to this end, to turn the kids into “machines of the economy”.

This lifestyle requires, and demands, tremendous amounts of time, energy, and effort from the youth.  Remember that we are now demanding decades of children’s lives, countless hours of effort, and such.  To demand this from everyday kids, on this scale, seems unprecedented to me.  I’ve always pointed out that primitive people, who live in the middle of nature, don’t even require that much from their children.  In effect, at least in my opinion, this lifestyle is demanding too much.  It has now become a dominating and powerful influence in kids lives, one which they cannot escape.  It has become so powerful that it has created an orientation that is basically replacing culture, religion, and the belief systems which have defined human society since the beginning of time.

Other cultures teach their kids a way of life, tradition, belief, and so on . . . a more balanced and human lifestyle that encompasses a great deal of life.  The “machine of the economy” lifestyle does not do this.  It is not balanced and its not really human.  The main purpose, and intent, is to create a bunch of machines for the economy, a bunch of ‘educated’ people to maintain the economy.  This is its focus and its direction.  Because of this it leaves a great gap in the kid’s lives (though I think few are aware of it), of a lifestyle incomplete and lacking.  In this way, it creates a bunch of people who are incomplete and lacking.


I tend to feel that national pride is very much involved with the “machines of the economy” lifestyle.  This whole movement appears to be a remnant of the cold war and oozes of cold war mentality.  Part of this mentality is pursuing the ‘greatness of America’ and emulating its values.  And, as I’ve watched it over the years, I can’t help but notice how, behind all its fancy talk, it looks like nothing but an attempt to ‘prove’ America is a great country by ‘showing’ that the kids can become ‘educated’ and get ‘great jobs’ . . . the glory  of America!

But it wasn’t just for glory.  I can remember when there was a fear that America was ‘getting behind’ the rest of the world.  People thought the kids, in the U.S., weren’t being ‘educated’ very well, which would mean the U.S. is slumping and would weaken the U.S.  It’s probably no surprise that it was after this fear appeared (I recall it in the 1980’s) that we began to see this effort begin which created the “machines of the economy” outlook (which began to grow in the 1990’s).

What all this means is that the kids have become an ‘instrument’ of the nation and national pride.


This new orientation of this lifestyle creates an emphasis on specific things:

  • A child’s achievement and abilities.  The kids are often pushed, and often forcibly, to develop abilities and achieve, achieve, achieve!
  • That they will be educated.  This generally is going by the assumption that education somehow ‘improves’ a person.  My observation is that all it does is make people informative about certain things, and this generally absorbs years of their lives and energy to do it.
  • The money they will make.  This surely shows America’s greatness . . . money, money, money, success, success, success!
  • The glamour their new job will entail.  There is often a belief that there will be great glamour in their new job, that it will be this great and wonderful thing.  Of course, most just find that it becomes nothing but a “job”, assuming they can find one they are trained for.   
  • That it reflects what THEY want to do.  There is a belief that one can ‘choose’ what they want to be . . . a great American ideal.  Therefore, in making this decision of what one wants to do, and fulfilling it, is a sign of America’s greatness.   The basic flaw in this is that it assumes that people know what they want to do.  My observation is that most people don’t know what they want to do and, therefore, ‘choose’ things often on passing whims and interests, much like choosing which magazine to skim through while waiting at a doctor’s office.
  • That technology, science, and such, is what everything is about.  Of course, these are nothing but the fruits of the “machines of the economy”.   It makes sense that a “machine of the economy” would worship the fruits of the “machine of the economy”.  Because of this, they assign all this ridiculous and asinine importance to anything technological.  As a result, they think anything technological is great and better than anything else.  I’ve seen people who think that if a kid reads something on a computer its better than reading it from a book!  I’ve seen cases where if a school does not have enough computers then they think the kids can’t learn anything.  I can recall one instance where a school acted like the world was going to end because they didn’t have enough computers!  Its like technology has a ‘Midas touch’ and will solve all their problems.  Utterly ridiculous.

One can see that the ‘new emphasis’ is that EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, is about going to school and getting a job.  I’m just a bystander to all this, for crying out loud, and I find this unbelievable.  I found it very revolting and appalling.  One of the reasons for this is that this point of view treats kids like their objects, something I disapprove of.   In this way, I see it as a form of degradation of people.  Not only does it degrade people but it creates a degraded lifestyle.

I recently saw a thing that appalled me, a “kid’s job fair”.  What?  We’re talking about grade school kids who don’t know anything about life yet and they are already trying to groom them to be “machines of the economy” . . . their just kids!  Unbelievable.  Maybe we should have grade school kids work at a different company, with a different occupation, every week?  Maybe we should start teaching a second language in the 1st grade and calculus in the 4th grade?  This way, when they reach high school they could be doing quantum physics and learning their fifth language?  Utterly ridiculous.  They’re treating kids like they are a bunch of machines and this is the general orientation of the “machines of the economy” lifestyle.

The “machines of the economy” lifestyle tends to turn ’emphasis’ away from things like:

  • A meaningful life
  • A useful life
  • A personal life
  • A family life
  • A married life
  • A cultural life
  • A life of belief

These are things that have been a part of human life for centuries.  None of these things are seen in the ‘machines of the economy’ lifestyle.  How can it be? . . . the kids are being turned into “machines of the economy”, not human beings.  In effect, the “machines of the economy” lifestyle has created a condition of moving away from a “human life”, which is exactly what I’m seeing.  The endless and continuous attempt at turning kids into “machines of the economy” is really nothing but a neglectful forgetting about life and being a human being.  Instead, they get to have endless worthless information stuffed into their heads for 15-20 years, to turn them into a ‘better grade of person’ (that is, educated), and, to prove America is great, they will hopefully get a ‘great job’.  And once they get a ‘great job’ they are, supposedly, at the height of life.  But, in the process of doing this, not only have they forgotten about a large part of life but much of their life has been absorbed with pursuing the ideals of this lifestyle.  With this new lifestyle, kids are not being shown any aspects of a human life.  In fact, they’re being deprived of it. 

Under these conditions many human things, and institutions, simply cannot work.  Remember that, in this lifestyle, children are groomed, from little kids on, to focus on schooling and work as the ‘main thing’ . . . everything else is minor.  It creates a very focused outlook that can be described as a tunnel vision.  As a result, this tunnel vision tends to make it so that, though they focus on schooling and their jobs, they neglect many other aspects of life (which are often more important).  Because of this, many other aspects of life, such as marriage and the family for example, are treated as ‘second’, ‘third’, or not considered at all.  In this way, the “machines of the economy” lifestyle has an undermining quality to human society. 

In addition, the “machine of the economy” lifestyle is a lifestyle that absorbs so much time and energy of the person that there is little left for anything else.  Their youth is wasted on it, and their adulthood is wasted on maintaining it.  As a result, we see that many human things simply don’t work.  They’ve made a whole life revolving around schooling and work as if it is all there is in the world.

How can a marriage work?  The husband and wife, to fully play out the ideal of this lifestyle, have to have degree’s and a high paying job that absorbs all their time when their young and all their time when they have a job.  Really, what’s the point of marriage?

How can a home exist?  Almost everyone is away from home for most of the time.  Husband and wife are at their jobs all day long, playing the ideal of the “machines of the economy”.  The kids are at school, learning to be good little “machines of the economy”.  A home requires that there is a focus and center of the home in the people’s lives.  But, with the “machines of the economy” lifestyle, the focus and center on the home can’t compete with schooling and a job.  It’s not uncommon that, as I drive around the place and look at people’s homes, I can’t help but think to myself “those are just places where people sleep at night”.

How can a family work?  Both husband and wife are at work, absorbing most of their time.  There’s not that much of a family there.  Because of the power of the “machines of the economy” lifestyle there is no one to even raise, and take care of, the kids.  As a result, people put their kids in child care and, later, in the public school system.  In this way, the “machines of the economy” lifestyle has, in a way, created a substitute family because the family can’t work under these conditions.  As a result of this, this lifestyle as if feeds upon itself . . . destroying the family, but creating a substitute family, that only destroys the family even more. 


As I’ve watched this lifestyle over the years I have been appalled by the blind sheep mentality that’s behind this.  People blindly follow it.  To be frank, this is sort of scary to me.  This whole lifestyle does not create the free-thinkers, as it likes to think, but a bunch of people who do nothing but ‘follow the crowd’ . . . a bunch of blind sheep.  In many ways, this observation was the first sign that there was something wrong with all this.

The kids are blindly following what their told to do, without consideration, without thought.  The best example of this when I began to ask kids if any had inquired about job opportunities in the field they were studying . . . so far, not one has!  So we have thousands of kids blindly going into the University or College, committing thousands of dollars, years of their lives, and a great deal of stress, without so much as looking for job opportunities!  As I once said, “this fact puts this whole generation in doubt to me” . . . and it does.  It reminds me of an incidence that I was told about when I took Hunter Safety many decades ago.  The Instructor told us he flunked a whole class because, when they did the target shooting at the end of the course, a guy had got up to change the target while everyone was still firing.  Not one person stood up and said, “stop shooting!”  They all ‘passed’ the tests and everything but had forgotten the basic lesson of the course.  In a way, its sort of the same thing with the generation . . . they’re not getting the big picture . . . they’re too busy being blind sheep.

The worst blind sheep, by far, are the females.  I once heard someone mention that they had a discussion with their neighbor about what their daughter was going to do.  Almost immediately I said, “She’s a female.  She doesn’t have a choice.  She HAS TO go to the University.”  Females go to the University not for much different reasons than why they wear the latest fashions.  Because of this, they HAVE TO GO, whether they want to or not.  And, sure enough, she HAD TO GO, even though she had no interest in anything.  A perfect blind sheep.  Way to go younger generation!!!

The “machines of the economy” lifestyle turns kids into blind sheep and that’s exactly how they behave.  In fact, this is so prevalent a theme that I have begun to equate the “machines of the economy” lifestyle, as well as much of these later generations, to being blind sheep, meaning sort of mindless people.

At this point, I’ve seen very little to prove it wrong.

Another aspect of the blind sheep mentality is the creation of a particular quality of “sycophant”.

And what is a “sycophant” you say?

Well, it’s basically someone who ‘sucks up’ to other people (who usually have some power) in order to get ahead.   With the “machines of the economy” lifestyle it has a quality of a blind sheep who ‘sucks up’ to get ahead usually be doing whatever everyone else is doing or the system says.  As a result, it gives them a quality of ‘following along’ or ‘sucking up’ to the system as required.

This “sycophant” attitude is very prevalent with the “machines of the economy” lifestyle.  In fact, I’d say that, in many ways, the “machines of the economy” lifestyle is nothing but a form of “sycophant living”.  This is not surprising as the whole lifestyle is based in ‘getting ahead’ in some way by ‘sucking up’ to authority in some way in order to get there (namely, education and a job).   In this country, this “sycophancy” is disguised under the mantle of many forms of American idealisms, making it appear somewhat patriotic and a virtue.  Some of these American idealisms include:

  • Individualism.
  • The value of work.
  • The importance of achievement.
  • The worship of success.

Hiding behind these idealisms, it makes this “sycophancy” seem a desirable quality, something to be cultivated.  Accordingly, one can see that this is exactly what happens with this lifestyle.  More than once have I described these generations as ‘social climbers’ or ‘suck ups’.   I once almost told a kid:

“All you’re doing is playing along with the system to get ahead . . . you could care less about what you’re learning or doing.  You’re just hiding behind this blind obeying of everything and, when it works, you think you’re successful.” 

Many will ‘play along’ doing whatever the system says and tells them to do.  They will follow what it says, learn what it says, and do what it says.  In this way, it gives many kids of this lifestyle an almost robotic inhuman quality.  So here we can see that this blind sheep attitude, this “sycophancy”, this robotic attitude ,creates a tendency to be not be genuine with themselves creating a quality of artificiality


The “machines of the economy” lifestyle, with its requirement of ‘education’ has, at least in my opinion, caused a degradation of knowledge.  It has primarily devalued it, creating what can be described as ‘cheap knowledge’ (many years I wrote an article on this called “Thoughts on ‘cheap knowledge’“).  It does this a number of ways:

  • It has turned knowledge as a means to an end . . . namely, work, success, money, etc.
  • There is little or no convictions or belief in knowledge. 
  • One seeks knowledge as a means of blind following, of doing what you’re told to do in order to get ahead.
  • It has made knowledge “common” . . . anyone can learn it, and at any time.
  • There are no values that surround knowledge.  In many ways, the defining trait of ‘cheap knowledge’ is its lack of values.
  • There is too much hype when someone learns something.  Just because someone learns something does not mean that they are ‘educated’ or intelligent.
  • There are serious flaws in the ‘measurement’ of learning.  The whole grading system is in error and does not do what it professes to do.  I wrote an article on this called “Thoughts on how grades really don’t measure anything“.
  • Knowledge is used too much as a ‘weapon’ or a means for something.

The “machines of the economy” lifestyle all foster these qualities that, in the end, make knowledge cheap and, in a way, worthless.  In this way, it has created a form of ‘new education’, of being educated, and passing all the requirements (perhaps appearing to excel) but without being educated. This is the ‘educated uneducated’.  Its created people who have done nothing, really, but ‘pass the course’, and because they have ‘passed’, they are supposed to be ‘educated’.  The problem is that most aren’t ‘educated’, they just ‘passed’.


The “machines of the economy” lifestyle has taught me a lot about things and life.  Basically, its taught me what NOT to be and do.  Recently, I’ve found myself saying things that are a result of observing this lifestyle.  Some of these statements include:

  • I don’t want my life to revolve around work.  I want a life beyond work.  Work, to me, is a part of life, it’s not all of it.  I went on to emphasize that I do not want to spend too much time at work, as it robs me of time living.  I also mentioned that I do not want a job that has too much responsibility (or stress) as it drains the energy out of me.  I want energy to live.
  • I do not want my life to be measured by how much money I make.  I do not want my life to be measured by how expensive my car or house is.
  • I do not want my life to revolve around achievement and what I accomplish.
  • I want my life to focus on simple human things, not on the seeking of glamorous fantastic things that’s primary purpose is to impress either the system (to get ahead) or people.
  • If I learn something I want it to have a meaning and worth, not just something to remember for a test.
  • I do not want to be a blind sheep to society, blindly following every latest thing.
  • I don’t want my life to be a ‘sucking up’ as a way of life.
  • I want to live a genuine human life.
  • I don’t need to have the system approve of me to make me someone or ‘successful’.  I want to live apart from the system without its judgement’s to determine who I am and what I am.

These are all traits to avoid the “machine of the economy” lifestyle.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Education and learning, Modern life and society, The U.S. and American society, Twenty first century and post cold war society and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s