Thirty years ago, one was supposed to work one's way up the corporate ladder. That's less the rule now. Our generation wants to get paid up front. Instead of developing a product for some big company in the expectation of getting job security in return, we develop the product ourselves, in a startup, and sell it to the big company.

This has led to the appearance of more economic inequality. However, it’s not as big a shift as you’d think. In the earlier days, a position on the corporate ladder has extra value because you could expect to be promoted later on based on seniority, and because it’s relatively safe. The expected future earnings and safety has monetary value, and if you take this value into account, todays entrepreneurs aren’t making that much more by selling to big companies than the employees of previous generations are.

One of main causes of the decay of the corporate ladder is the trend for takeovers that began in the 1980s. Why waste your time climbing a ladder that might disappear before you reach the top?

I like the new model better. It doesn’t sound like a good idea to treat jobs as rewards, and it’s bad that you had to deal with corporate politics to protect the work you’ve done int he corporation. However, the big disadvantage of the new system is that it involves more risk.