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5 Personal Advisers, personal lives

What is clear from a wide range of New Deal evaluations (Dawson et al., 2000; O'Connor et al., 2001; Lewis et al., 2000) is that PAs provide a critical interface between the programme and its clients. The prominence of ‘personal’ in their title carries several meanings. Clients are allocated to PAs on a one-to-one basis, with the implication of a relationship, and of continuity. It also implies personal advice, which crosses the boundary of the informational into the distinctive needs of
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4.4 Finding ‘the personal’ in policy: responses, refusals and resistances

The reservation wage is one of many meeting points between personal lives and social policies. Personal lives fundamentally condition the rate of pay at which everyone individually decides they can or must work. Policies like New Deal necessarily regulate that level.

Activity 5

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4.2 Neo-liberal interpretations of welfare to work

Neo-liberalism begins from an emphasis on the free market, individual freedom and responsibility. Neo-liberal approaches use the ‘less eligibility’ principle. Welfare is thought to distort ‘free’ markets, because it either removes incentives to work, or drives up entry-level pay to rates that are not economical for employers. Neo-liberals tend to advocate what Peck (2001) terms the ‘hard’ Labour Force Attachment model of working for welfare, which places claimants directly
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to look at how:

  • experiences of being an older person are shaped through a historical and mutually constitutive process involving an interplay between the personal, work and welfare; and the points of continuity and difference this interplay illuminates;

  • personal experiences of being older are constituted not only through age divisions, but also through loci of social difference and inequality organised around class, (dis)
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3.1 Introduction

In this section the focus turns towards the supply side of the market, towards firms and industries, exploring the importance of costs and technological change in the organisation of production. The objective is to understand some of the different kinds of change in industrial structure, namely changes in the number and size of firms in an industry. One such change saw the emergence of Ford, initially one among many similar firms jostling for position in the US automobile industry, as the ind
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2.1 Industry and markets: what do we mean?

Case study: Digital outsells film

Sales of digital cameras have overtaken traditional 35 mm cameras for the first time. According to monthly figures collated by national electric and photo retailer Dixons, digital camera sales out
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1 Technological change, demand and costs

The new economy

Over the past 40 years global computing power has increased a billionfold. Number-crunching tasks that once took a week can now be done in seconds. Today a Ford Taurus car contains more computing power than the multimillion-dollar mainframe computers used in the Apollo space programme. Cheaper processing allows computers to be used for more and more purposes. In 1985, it cost Ford
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References

Abernathy, W.J., Clark, K. and Kantrow, A. (1983) Industrial Renaissance: Producing a Competitive Future for America, Basic Books, New York.
Berndt, E.R. and Rappaport, N. (2000) ‘Price and quality of desktop and mobile personal computers: a quarter century of history’, paper presented at the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Summer Institute 2000 session on ‘Price, Output and Productivity Measure
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5 Conclusion

This chapter has enabled you to think about the essential role of technological change in determining economy-wide growth and the growth of firms and industries. We have seen that many issues surrounding the new economy are really issues around the dynamics of technological change: rapid increases in productivity, the emergence of many small firms, new products and new processes, and so on. The main lesson of the unit has been to provide a historical perspective to the introduction of new tec
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4.5 Technological change

In both industries the fall in prices was driven by radical changes in the production of the products. How might we investigate the technological changes and the changes in quality that occurred in both industries simultaneously with the drastic fall in prices? There are various methods used by economists to measure technological change. Some methods focus on the ‘inputs’ into the innovation process, such as the spending on research and development by firms. But this is not ideal as it do
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4.1 Introduction

As you have now seen, the concept of the ‘new economy’ has inspired a number of studies that compare the effect that new technologies have had on economy-wide productivity in previous eras with the effect that IT has – or has not yet – had in the current era. I shall now ask another question, still along the lines of ‘what's new in the new economy?’, but this time from a more microeconomic perspective, which focuses on the individual firm and industry rather than on the whole econ
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3.2 Is productivity sustainable?

Are the recent increases in productivity sustainable? The answer to this question, and the crux of the debate concerning the effect of IT, centres on distinguishing whether recent increases in productivity are just cyclical, and hence temporary, or whether they are the beginning of a new and long-lasting trend. If the increase in productivity in the USA in the late 1990s was cyclical, this means that it occurred simply because the US economy as a whole was undergoing a bo
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3.1 The impact of information technology

Having discussed the radical and pervasive effect that inventions in previous eras have had on economy-wide productivity, and how they have even defined entire periods, we shall now ask how the rise of information technology compares to these previous revolutions. During the early growth phase of PC use, a leader article in Fortune magazine did not hesitate to compare the rise of the PC to previous technological revolutions.

<
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2.2 The effect of technology on productivity

In each industrial revolution, new inventions radically changed the way that production and distribution were organised, and often led to large and rapid increases in the efficiency of production. The rise of electricity, for example, allowed US productivity to increase in the manufacturing sector (as opposed to the agricultural or service sector) by more than 5 per cent per annum throughout the 1920s.

Let us pause a moment and consider what this means. The term productivity refe
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2.1 Industrial revolutions and technological change

In this section I shall look at the way that technological innovations in previous eras, such as the invention of electricity in the early 1900s, radically affected the way society organised production and at how these changes spurred general economic growth. In many instances, the changes were so large that they defined an entire period, just as the rise of information technologies has led some to call the current era the ‘information age’.

The way that technological change can fun
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1 Technological advancement

Everything that can be invented has been invented.

(The Commissioner of the United States Office of Patents, 1899, recommending that his office be abolished, quoted in The Economist, 2000, p. 5)

There is nothing now to be foreseen which can prevent the United States from enjoying an era of business prosperity which is entirely
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • understand the relationship between technological change and industrial revolutions;

  • appreciate the pervasive effect that new technologies can have on the economy and, in particular, on productivity;

  • understand how industry dynamics can be analysed using the ‘industrial life cycle’ model;

  • use data and historical examples to support economic arguments.


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Introduction

This unit takes one aspect of the debate concerning the new economy – innovation in the form of the introduction of information and communication technologies – and places it in the historical context of industrial revolutions. Is the new economy really new or ‘just another’ industrial revolution?

This unit is an adapted extract from the course Economics and economic change (
Author(s): The Open University

Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

This extract is taken from D315: Crime, order and social control, produced by the BBC on behalf of the Open University.

© 2007 The Open University.

Unit Im
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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • identify criteria to evaluate the politics of racial violence.


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