January 20, 2017

Let’s go for a ride. Credit: Bob M/ Flickr / Creative Commons

How have the Amish thrived in a world without technology? They’ve hacked and innovated, says Elizabethtown College professor Donald Kraybill. Entrepreneurs can still succeed within the confines of their culture. It just takes a little imagination.

Three Takeaways:

  • Kraybill says that the have Amish come up with workarounds for some of their religious mandates -- like hiring a driver from outside the community for transportation, rather than clomping everywhere via horse and buggy. “These restraints,” he says, “really spur innovation, spur imagination, spur creativity, in a fascinating way.”
  • Technology like smartphones threaten the values of the Amish communities, according to Kraybill. “Every Amish young person can carry a smartphone in their pocket out in the cornfield and have all of the world at their fingertips,” he says.
  • Early apprenticeships help young Amish boys and girls succeed later in life, Kraybill explains. They typically begin working right out of the eighth grade. “By the time they are 20, they’re earning significant income, they have no college debt, they’ve learned the skill of that profession,” he says. “They’re also set in terms of a career track for the rest of their life.”

More Reading:

religion, Donald Kraybill, Amish, Business, Culture, Kara Miller

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