I believe as young Americans - who didn't create the current economic mess, but will certainly be volunteered to don the proverbial janitorial onesie and clean it up - we have two realistic options in how to move forward:
The First Option is to... learn all our brains will hold about business, money, spending, debt and economics. You know, cuz knowledge is power, and cuz the generation above us never bothered to manage their checkbook. Or just pay their credit card bills.
The Second Option is to... dig a 80' x 120' x 11' foot hole in the ground; line and roof the hole with 6" thick plates of steel; stock the refuge with bottled water, non-perishable goods and board games; and wait for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to arrive, at which point we will sing loudly to conceal the screams and crackles of burning flesh.
The second option is tempting, no doubt, but frankly I lack the basic understanding of power tools necessary to build a birdhouse, let alone a fallout shelter. So the second option, at least in my case, is off the table.
Us non-crafty folk need to learn economics, no other way around it. Now if like you're like me, someone who took college as a time to study cheap beer and video games, then it's safe to say you know little about trading stocks or opening a small business. Or maybe you do, maybe you were an overachiever.
But for my certain type of person, which, correct me if I'm wrong, constitutes most of you sitting at your computer reading this, I hereby provide what I like to call...
Crap, Why Did I Just Spend So Much on Another iPhone, I Thought I Was Trying to Be Frugal
How the iPhone Will Save Us from the Recession
To answer your first question:
Is an iPhone really the best place to learn the underpinnings of the global economy? No, of course not. You have a couple hundred thousand dollars and four to eight years to spare? Go to Harvard. The iTunes App Store, however, is a fun place to learn some basics. And most former nerds or still nerds own iPhones; it is the inexplicable blood-born obligation of the middle class male.
So without further hubbub, I present a smattering of what I've absorbed over the past few months from the slab of plastic in my pocket. I think these concepts have made me a better employee, small business owner, and money conscious consumer. They might have also irradiated my junk, effectively making me infertile - science is still looking into cellphone rays, so only time will tell.
As an Employee, I Should? Incentivize the Mundane
As my grandpa always says, "If they wanted work to be called fun, they wouldn't have called it work," which explains why he retired young.
A number of successful apps like NimbleBit's Tiny Tower or Zynga's Farmville were designed in a way that work seems like fun. And work is the correct word to describe what a human does with these programs.
These apps are progress simulations. They create the sense of change, of things happening by constantly providing you with attainable goals and rewards for meeting said goals. People like this because people like the sense of doing something to completion.
Of course you aren't really doing anything. You're simply checking in regularly to click a button, receive a reward, click a button, set a new goal, and repeat.
What should be taken away from these apps isn't the idea bullshit of gamefication, but the simple concept that breaking down an intimidating goal into many less intimidating goals, and rewarding their completion, even with something small as a pat on the back, is a less stressful way to take on work.
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as How the iPhone Will Save Us from the Recession