Could Millennials Be The Most Complete Version Of Homo Economicus?

The most simple definition of Homo Economicus or the economic man would be that he is a rational person who pursues wealth for his own self-interest. John Stewart Mills defined it as one "who inevitably does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labor and physical self-denial with which they can be obtained."

Daniel Defoe’s character of Robinson Crusoe has always been seen as a great exmple of Homo Economicus. Daniel Defoe was a man who engaged in multiple careers during his lifetime and who was seeking an opportunity to pay off the debts he had gotten himself into and which eventually made him bankrupt. We have to keep in mind that even his famous novel was Defoe’s attempt to try his luck at a business he had never done before to earn money to pay his debts. That is why his style is close to report writing, which was his initial job.

When Robinson Crusoe becomes completely aware of the situation he has gotten himself into, he immediately starts to use any resources that he can find in the hostile environment he has landed in. Robinson Crusoe as a character is a great example of a capitalist, a colonizer, and an individual man of his age. He is always seeking ways to expand his business by traveling to remote places and learning new ways to get richer. This fundamental, practical idea is applied from cover to cover by Crusoe as he carefully allocates his resources, calculating the value of his slaves, his food consumption, and market prices.

Crusoe is the product of Defoe’s individualistic age. Crusoe is not a very spritual man. His relationship with God is businesslike. The only times he prays is when he needs something from God that is out of his hands. In general, Robinson Crusoe is an individual who is independent of God and who does not wait for a miracle to be saved, but rather finds a way to save himself. Crusoe’s mastery over nature makes him master of his own fate. The fact that Crusoe gets rid of his social ties so early in life indicates his capitalistic and economic nature. Emotional ties would bind him to one place or one specific profession or job.

The life of a capitalist is based on the primary goal of gaining profit by taking risks and making the best possible use of resources available to do so. So the question is, how do Millennials fit the description, and have a potential to be the most accomplished version of Homo Economicus?

Digitalization – It is needless to say that Millennials are obsessed with smartphones and the online world. Not many people know that this is the actual ”land of opportunity” of the 21st century. Almost every business nowadays is done in some form of digital environment. The knowledge of this world could be of crucial importance for the successful ventures of the next forty years.

The possibility of traveling around the globe – Who loves to travel the most? Millennials, without a doubt. This desire and the possibility of traveling around the globe puts them in a very good position for exploring different possibilities in every corner of our planet.

Opportunities – There are more opportunities for young people than ever before. Starting with universities and education, different scholarships, events and conferences, Millennials get the chance to meet different people and learn.

Fresh ideas – The leaders with the creative ideas in the digital and real worlds are Millennials. The most successful artists, content creators and entrepreneurs are becoming younger and younger. There are many examples of successful young people under the age of 25.

Adaptation to change – The ability to accept change and transformation on a daily basis is a very important trait of young people. Sometimes transformation means radical changes, and it is far easier for a Millennial to undergo these changes than someone older who likes to stay in the comfort zone.

Ambition – The key attribute is ambition. It is the main force that drives young people. This desire keeps them focused on their goals, and keeps them going forward even when it looks like there is no way out.

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