The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting

The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting

The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting

The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting

Synopsis

In 1976, when Daniel Bell first published The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, he predicted a vastly different world -- one that would rely upon an economics of information, as opposed to the economics of goods that had existed up to then. Bell argued that the new society would not displace the old one but rather overlay it in profound ways, much as industrialization continues to coexist with the agrarian sectors of our society.

In Bell's prescient vision, the post-industrial society would include the birth and growth of a knowledge class, a change from goods to services, and changes in the role of women. All of these would be based upon an increasing dependence on science as a means of innovation; as a means of technical and social change.

The Coming of Post-Industrial Society remains an important book for a whole new generation of politicians, economists, intellectuals, and students.

Excerpt

The Coming of Post-Industrial Society was first published in 1973 and re-issued with an expanded foreword in 1976. Since then, the term, the phrase, the idea, the concept of post-industrial society has passed into common currency and the academic lexicon. A search in the Nexis database from August 6, 1997 to August 8, 1998, reveals 104 citations in articles and speeches by many different persons. In the two-year period beginning in 1996, there were 191 instances.

The range is revealing, sometimes amusing, and sometimes astounding. Sir Leon Brittan, Vice-President of the European Commission, speaking in Tokyo in September 1997, remarked, "We are managing a difficult transition to becoming post-industrial societies with aging populations." William Julius Wilson, the Harvard sociologist, writing in January 1998 on the reasons behind inner-city dislocations, pointed to the "post-industrial society" occupational positions that require higher levels of education. The Unabomber, the man responsible for the death or maiming of more than a dozen persons over a dozen-year period, in January 1998 offered to end his war "if a national newspaper published his 35,000-word manifesto criticizing the corrupt and dehumanizing influences of post-industrial [i.e., technological] society." When the New York Times and Washington Post jointly published the manuscript, David Kaczynski, the brother of the Unabomber, recognized the style and words and informed the authorities of his identity.

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