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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 ca
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3.3 The downside of the new economy

During the US boom of the 1990s, some economists attributed the paradox of economic growth, rising productivity, but stable or only modestly rising wage costs, to the growing sense of insecurity in the labour force (Greenspan, 1998). Employment insecurity is also emphasised by sociologists such as Ulrich Beck (2000) and Richard Sennett (1998). This section outlines some of their arguments because they are central to those who take a critical view of the new economy. Their arguments also conta
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2.2 The shift from manufacturing to services in industrialised economies

There was a profound restructuring of economic activity in ‘older’ industrialised countries in the last quarter of the twentieth century from manufacturing to service activities. There are several reasons for this restructuring. First, the long-established industrialised countries such as Germany, the USA, Japan and the UK have faced increasingly intense competition as more countries have industrialised. Second, productivity, or output per worker, has increased in manufacturing indus
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