America’s Greatest Problem

As 2016 rolled to a close, many citizens in the United States were eager to put a year of grinding problems behind them.

Terrorist attacks. An opioid addiction crisis. Crippling political gridlock. Indeed, America has been grappling with an overwhelming set of challenges that defy all attempts at solutions.

And last month brought news of what might prove to be America’s greatest problem of all. Hidden beneath the customary headlines was a grim announcement by the United States Census Bureau. Apparently, the American population is growing at its slowest rate since the Great Depression.

The causes? The mortality of the massive baby boom generation. Millennials delaying the start of new families because of financial concerns. Restrictions on immigration inflows.

Japan, Russia, and other nations are further along. They are experiencing an outright population decline, and the pervasive economic malaise that accompanies it.

When newlyweds don’t start families, for instance, they don’t purchase small homes. And so the current owners of those homes can’t move up to larger ones. Without such growth, furniture isn’t purchased. Schools aren’t built. Motor vehicles aren’t bought. And the economy wilts.

In addition, social and economic resources are diverted towards care for the elderly. Fewer resources are thus available to train the next generation of employees. So employers shift jobs away to nations with young, dynamic, and growing work forces.

In the United States, there may be little that can be done to reverse the mortality rate of baby boomers. But government policies can certainly be modified to promote population growth among millennial and immigrant groups.

Would such policies generate their own problems? Indeed they would. But they would also begin to address the stagnating growth rate of the population, which may represent the greatest long term challenge that confronts the American people.

Accounting Games And The Next Generation

Today is Labor Day, the social conclusion to the summer months. It’s time to pack away our beach sandals, close up our summer homes, and turn our sober eyes toward the worlds of work and school.

So what did the sensible and pragmatic folks at the New York State Society of CPAs decide to showcase during the week leading up to Labor Day? Accounting games! No, not the shenanigans that companies play with their tax returns, but rather the activities that make us laugh and cheer as we compete to win our contests.

I’m a contributing writer for Next Gen, the professional development guide of the New York Society, which has developed a sizable following among millennials who are working as accountants or who aspire to become accountants. Last week, they published my posting entitled Oh, The Accounting Games We Play.

It describes how games can be utilized to enliven the process of professional learning and education. And, in particular, it presents an illustration of a game that I co-created, entitled Audit Experience!

Believe it or not, the design process of an educational game is actually a very serious endeavor. Like any other communication media based service, it must carefully consider factors like the attention spans of the learners, the entertainment value of the content, and — most importantly of all — the ability of the game to convey knowledge in a sustainable fashion.

If you have any curiosity about the design of such games, you’re welcome to click over to the Next Gen blog posting. In fact, even if you’re not particularly enamored of educational games, you might wish to peruse the Next Gen platform of online media content to see how the New York Society is addressing the interests of the millennial generation.

And if you ever find yourself struggling to maintain your interest in a tedious training or learning exercise, please don’t give up on the material! Instead, try searching for an approach that makes a game of it.