Oil Collapse Could Expose Society’s Lack of Practical Knowledge

A very unscientific study in the States has concluded that American men between the ages of 18-25 cannot do one quarter of the things their fathers could do. Our fathers, the study showed, could fix a fusebox, or a defective toilet plunger. They could also work with wood, change the oil in a car, or the tyre if it went flat on the road. They were handier around the house. And apparently, they had a lot more practical knowledge about how things worked, and how to fix them when they didn’t work.

Conversely, the study concludes that your average young man today is good at fixing up a big bowl of mac and cheese or ramen noodles after a huge night out drinking booze. Also, today’s generation is supposed to have made huge advances in video game playing skills and the pimping out of MySpace pages.

Is it true? Are today’s young men less skilled in practical matters than their fathers? Probably. In academic terms, the division of labour has worked hard in the last twenty years. There are many goods and services we enjoy as part of our modern life that we’d be utterly incapable of producing ourselves. We lack the knowledge to build a transistor or brew up our own Coke or make yoghurt and grow blueberries for breakfast. Does that mean we are less manly than our fathers?

Hmm. Well, in evolutionary terms, human beings develop the skills they need to survive. Cheap energy and cheap credit over the lat 100 years have made it pretty easy for just about anyone to have a great standard of living with very little practical knowledge about money, energy, or electricity. We suppose another name for this phenomenon might be “civilization.”

How much practical knowledge can a culture afford to forget? How safe it is to leave that practical knowledge in the hands of a few? If the oil collapse narrative is true, we may just find out in a few years time…

Dan Denning
Markets and Money

Do young people today have less practical knowledge than their parents? Leave a message below.

Dan Denning

Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "Oil Collapse Could Expose Society’s Lack of Practical Knowledge"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
William Pix

I knew nothing until i was 25 and bought an old house. With no money to hire trades I used the internet to learn how to fix and make stuff – found it rewarding and now I’m right into growing food.
Yep were losing important self-reliant skills, which I reckon will haunt us later.
Love your work DR!

Silicon Solar Valley | Hybrid Auto News - Hybrid Cars

[…] Daily Reckoning also points to a Paul interview on Fox. Also at the Daily Reckoning – Oil Collapse Could Expose Society’s Lack of Practical Knowledge, George Bush Discredits Climate Change Theory…By Endorsing It and General Motors’ Glory Days […]

Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to letters@marketsandmoney.com.au