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Britain Toward A New Economy? Essay

3180 words - 13 pages

BRITAIN TOWARD A NEW ECONOMY ?Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution, from 1760-1830 progress, innovation and growth in every field of human endeavour have served to transform industry, economics and society. The discovery of new and better ways of combining land, labour and capital to enable the production of goods, determining technological progress. Whether progress has been embodied or disembodied it has facilitated economic development from agricultural to industrial dominance. (Heathfield & Russell, 1992). Over the last decade however the third or tertiary stage of productivity, that is the service sector, has become the focus of economic growth in Britain, outstripping the manufacturing sector. New kinds of work have replaced old, new regions expanding, often at the expense of older industrial regions. "Growth implies change, a painful process for some"(Heathfield & Russell, 1992,p19), the pace of change accelerating beyond the capabilities of adjustment. This turn to Informationalism at the expense of industrialism, leading many to believe Britain has experienced a second industrial revolution.In this essay I will identify the essential features of the new economy and evaluate employment patterns, changes in industrial structure and the role played by 'high technology' industries. I will discuss them empirically and theoretically with the help of tables and figures. I will analyse them and determine whether I believe Britain has experienced a second industrial revolution and achieved the transition to a 'new' or 'knowledge' based society. The last decade has seen unprecedented transformations in modern society. Technological changes beyond imagination only twenty or thirty years ago, fundamentally changing our way of life. The advent of digitalisation, mobile telephony, and networks, particularly the Internet, leading many authors to declare a new form of society ¡V the network society. According to Castells (2001,p5) the "economy of Internet industry". He argues that it is not the Internet itself that had created a new economy, but the interpretation and use by businesses creating productivity growth.Other commentators agree that changes since the 1970's particularly working patterns in recent years, including the rise of 'flexible employment' determine a revolution. (Social Justice Commission report; Hutton 1995, cited in Dex & McCulloch, 1997) Dex & McCulloch state that others (Robinson, 1995) believe this to be an overstatement, claiming flexibility is a voluntary preference of many people. The arguments for or against a second industrial revolution are many. Without doubt however, earlier technologies and innovations served to escalate and revolutionise human progress ensuring economic successes. Britain pioneering economic global influence, the Industrial Revolution heralded an entire world economy that for a short span of time revolved around Britain. (Hobsbawn1968). Whilst Britain can no longer...

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