New Economic and Socio-Economic Approaches
Edited by Jean Gadrey and Faïz Gallouj
Preface by William J. Baumol
Preface William J. Baumol It has well been said that economists are qualified to predict anything but the future. But, occasionally, the future is already here, just waiting to be recognized. We can forecast the ethnic composition of the native-born labour force with some degree of confidence because its future members are already alive. In the same way, we can predict the division of tomorrow’s industrial economy among agriculture, manufacturing and services because the change is with us already. But it is only inadequately reflected in the writings of journalists and even in the economic literature. Observers worry when their economy falls behind in manufacturing employment, though the evidence indicates clearly that their primary concern should be about their nation’s role in the services. The new composition of employment is clear in the USA, for example. Despite the vast volume of its agricultural output, employment in that sector has fallen below 3 per cent of the total. As an industrial economy, it is curious that manufacturing jobs provide far less than an additional 20 per cent to this sum. The rest is services. Moreover, there is reason to believe that within those services the key to future growth is to be found. Terms such as ‘computer programs’ and ‘the Internet’ suggest dramatically that this is so, and the prosperity contributed in locations from Silicon Valley to Tel Aviv indicate how much is at stake. But this is not even the most fundamental point here. It is difficult to dispute that...
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