The Knowledge Worker & the Cost of Healthcare and Education

The knowledge worker is an expression first described by Peter Drucker in 1959.  Over the last fifty years the knowledge worker has become the most essential and fastest growing member of the workforce.  It can be argued the knowledge worker has always been the most essential member of any workforce but in the information age they have taken on new value due to their vast numbers.  What is interesting is not only the growth in numbers of knowledge workers but also the cost of maintaining this booming generation.

Each age places an extraordinary amount of value on that which most contributes to output.  When we were primarily an agricultural economy value was placed on the land and the means to grow, harvest and bring to market the crops it could produce.  During the industrial age a factory’s plant, property and equipment were the primary assets of value.  In both ages the owners of the land or factory invested a relatively large amount of resources to insure the most efficient use of the assets that were the drivers of production and the creators of wealth.

The times are changing and it is the knowledge worker that has become the primary asset that creates future wealth.  Due to the growth of this member of the workforce is it any wonder that the value we place on health and education has increased?  Education is the way we maintain and upgrade the intellectual capital of the knowledge worker.  Healthcare is not only a way to repair and heal the knowledge worker during the down-time of injury and illness it is a way to maintain the long-term operational effectiveness and efficiency of this valuable workforce.  When we look back on the rapidly rising cost of our healthcare system we may find that one of the primary reasons for doing so was to preserve and protect the knowledge worker and the value they bring to our society and our economy.

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