Chapter 1 - The Future

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The Future

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automation and robots instead of workers. And that industrial workforce will continue to shrink, just as the agricultural base has shrunk. A couple of hundred years ago 90 percent of the people in North America were farmers.
  As recently as a dozen years ago it was about three and a half percent. Now it's way below that."
  Both Naisbitt and Drucker predict that by early in the new century only ten percent of the workforce in affluent developed countries like America will be working in direct manufacturing. And the figures back them up. Almost half of all routine American jobs in steelmaking disappeared between 1974 and 1988 - from 480,000 to 260,000. General Motors alone wiped out 150,000 U.S. production jobs in the 1980s.
  So if all a developed country's manufacturing can be done with ten percent of its workers, and all its farm products produced by another two percent, what will the other 88 percent of us do?
  Some are calling our future "the new service economy". But the very terms "manufacturing" and "service" are becoming obsolete. More and more, manufacturing will be combined with service: customized for individuals - in the same way that computer hardware now represents a very small part of the total service supplied by a computer company. By far the biggest part is in specialist consulting: customized software systems and training.
  Everyone now has to become a self-acting manager of one's own future. But much education still resembles the declining industrial method of production: a standard assembly-line curriculum divided into subjects, taught in units, arranged by grade, and controlled by standardized tests. This no longer reflects the world we live in. And traditional educational systems can no longer cope with the new realities.

6. The marriage of big and small

   In the traditional industrial economy, bigness ruled. GM, Ford and Chrysler dominated world car production for almost half a century; IBM towered over computers; and so on in dozens of different industries.
  Even 25 years ago only big companies could afford the giant computers that were then the peak of electronic achievement. That technology helped spur the ride to centralized bureaucracy, takeovers, acquisitions and mergers. Today many of those giant computers are obsolete. The world of the mini has arrived. Sure, many big companies are still there. Many of them, such as GE, are booming. Giant mergers are reported

 

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