and you don't pay taxes. This is not a good investment. Far better to be pre-emptive with our young people, because, believe me, they will take by force what is denied them if there is no opportunity. Far better to be pre-emptive. Provide the education, and then let young people compete for jobs in some of the thousands of nonprofit organizations. If they land a job, the city or state or federal government ought to be able to provide an income voucher for a decent wage so that a young man or woman can create social capital in their community.

There is another aspect to this. I grew up believing that the high-status jobs were professional jobs -- to be an architect, engineer, lawyer, doctor, business person. The irony is that much of this professional work is going to be reducible to zeros and ones in the next century. A lot of this work is going to be done by parallel computing capability. On the other hand, the contributions to society that we put on the bottom of the society in this century, out of the marketplace, in the third sector -- this work is too complicated for the technology of the Information Age. An example is a daycare center. I don't mean warehousing. I mean a teacher with a daycare center responsible for stewarding the minds of 30 youngsters.

A man or woman stewarding a daycare center, responsible for 30 young minds, is dealing with something so profoundly complicated, there is not a technology in the 21st century that can handle the task. What we may see is a switch in status. What we call high-status, machines are going to do in the next century. It is the skills in the third sector that require intimate participation in social capital -- these are the most intellectually challenging and emotionally difficult skills. If you think I'm kidding, take one week off and operate a daycare center.

Every school I know of in the United States is preparing the children for a market in cyberspace and I think they should. Your children need to know the language of the Information Age. But educators in my country are now saying we may be doing the children a disservice if we only prepare them for the marketplace. We are not going to need all of them. We don't want to set them up for disillusionment. We already have college graduates in our colleges coming out with all the degrees you need for the knowledge sector and they are having to dummy down their resume because there is not enough opportunity in some of these high-tech areas. What do you think it is going to be like 10 or 15 years from now? All over the United States, schools are beginning to work with students to model programs in the community. They learn by serving in nonprofit organizations -- an animal cruelty shelter, an environmental group, a senior nursing home. Millions of young people in less than five years will be doing this in our country. And now the educators are saying, let's rethink the whole curriculum. Why don't we prepare our children so they understand not only the marketplace history and government history, but let's also prepare them to understand the 200-year tradition of the third sector, the social group, the wellspring, the values that create a caring people.

GT: So in essence, you are suggesting that government has a role to play in fostering a stronger third sector so this can not only employ many more people in the next century, but also help to renew the foundations of our society in the Information Age?

Rifkin: It will take more than government. We need a vision and a mission for this technology revolution worthy of the century our children are inheriting. We need to ask the

Blake Harris  |  Editor