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3.1 Introduction

In this section we look at the way in which the personal lives of older people have been socially constructed through pensions policies over the last century. As we saw above, welfare policies and changes in employment in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century constructed the personal lives of older people as ‘other’ to the emergent normal of relatively younger, ‘independent’ paid workers. Here, we explore the way pensions policies during the
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2.1 Introduction

In this section, we explore how experiences of being an older person in the nineteenth century were constituted through the operation of the 1834 New Poor Law Act and the processes of industrial change that ran parallel to it. We examine the way this constructed the lives of older people as ‘other’ to the emergent ‘normal’ (adult, relatively youthful, male paid worker) and trace its legacy to reveal points of continuity and change.


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1.3 Sexuality and parenthood

In this unit sexuality is used to refer to heterosexual reproductive sex, relationships and relations, and the meanings and discursive constructions which are associated with these. Sexual practices resulting in conception and the experience of parenthood are among the few remaining areas that are considered a ‘natural’ part of human existence. Just as sexuality has been seen as a ‘natural’, elemental drive in human identity, parenthood has also been closely associated with the ‘nat
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1.2 Defining parenthood

As a starting point, we need to distinguish parenthood from parenting. Parenthood is more about the role, social status and meanings associated with being a parent, of bringing children into the world and having children to look after. Parenting, on the other hand, is associated with the activities of looking after children and raising them to adulthood. Parenting can be undertaken by a range of people: a man, a woman, a relative or an unrelated carer. It implies a sustained
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4.3 Industrial dynamics: knowledge and network industries

This final subsection introduces two more concepts that develop further our analysis of the dynamics of industrial structure, with particular reference to the ‘new economy’ industries. A dynamic approach to industrial change places considerable emphasis on innovation and learning, seeing firms as actively searching out innovative products and processes and learning how to produce and sell them. Some of the novelty of the new economy is reflected in the concepts used in trying to understan
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3.3 Long-run costs and economies of scale

What makes it possible to offer more output for sale at a lower price? That was one of the questions with which Section 3.2 opened. Part of the answer is that the firm's cost curves, which reflect the technology it is using, may display falling average cost as output increases over a range of output levels. The other part
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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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Questions for review and discussion

Question 9

Suppose a firm uses 200 hours of labour per day and produces 4000 mobile phones. It then reduces its labour inputs to 100 hours per day and finds it can produce 3000 phones. Which one of the following is a correct statement
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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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4.7 The future?

In the USA, the automobile reached the 50 per cent household penetration rate in 1923, about 23 years into the industry's development. The PC reached that threshold rate in 1999, also about 23 years into its development. Given the discussion in Section 3, this suggests that the economy-wide effects of the PC have yet to be fully see
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4.6 Changes in industry structure

How did the turbulence caused by new firms entering and leaving the industry, radical technological change and falling prices affect the overall industry structure? The term ‘industry structure’ refers mainly to the way in which power is distributed among firms. This can be described by factors such as the number of firms in the industry and the distribution of market shares (the market share of a firm is its share of total industry production expressed as a percentage).

An
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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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4.4 Prices and industrial change

Many of the new entrants entered by introducing a new variation of the product. In fact, the early period in both industries was characterised by much technological change in the form of product innovation. Once a product standard emerged, product and process innovations around that standard led to a drastic fall in the product price in both industries. We will now look at some of the indicators of this turbulence in technology and prices.

How can we look at price changes over time in i
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4.3 Live fast, die young

Both the automobile and PC industries were characterised by a great deal of turbulence in the first 20 to 30 years of their existence. In both cases, many new firms entered the industry, introduced new varieties of the product, and soon left the industry, leaving only a few dozen firms to compete during the growth phase. By 1926 only 33 per cent of the firms that had started producing automobiles during the previous 22 years had survived. In the case of PCs, by 1999 only 20 per cent of the fi
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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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3.3 A summary

I have shown that, while IT has no doubt had an impact on productivity, it is not clear whether this goes beyond the IT-producing sector, or whether the gains will outlast the boom period of the business cycle. With so much debate, whom should we believe? Perhaps, as is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The optimistic view highlights the way that IT has transformed society, and how this transformation has in many instances led to growth through the productivity-enhancing
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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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1 The politics of racial violence in Britain

Paul Gordon presents a series of views about the politics of racial violence in Britain. The audio programme was recorded in 1995.

Participants in the audio programme were:

  • Paul Gordon member of The Runnymede Trust (race relations organisation);

  • Satnam Virdee researcher at the Policy Studies Institute;

  • Suresh Grover;

  • Barnor Hesse.

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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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Acknowledgements

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

This extract is taken from D218: Social policy: welfare, power and diversity, produced by the BBC on behalf of the Open University.

© 2007 The Open University.

Unit Image

withonef  [Details correct as of 7th December 2007]
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