TO DE-INDUSTRIALIZE—IS IT SO IRRATIONAL?
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TO DE-INDUSTRIALIZE—IS IT SO IRRATIONAL? book
Before one can answer the question raised in the title meaningfully, one must first examine the notion of industrialization itself to see what it stands for. This may be grasped via the standard account given of a mature economy by economists-namely, it is one with a long-term rise in capacity to supply increasingly diverse economic goods and services to the population at large. This growing capacity is based on advancing technology and the institutional and ideological adjustments it demands.1 It refers to at least the following cluster of components2 which are of direct relevance to the question in hand: 1 The industrial mode of production. 2 High universal consumption. 3 Indefinite exponential economic growth. 4 The first component above, historically, has involved at least two kinds of
techniques (of mass production) to increase productivity and efficiency to propel growth (in bourgeois economies with the aim of maximizing profits)—namely the division of labour which leads to the fragmentation and simplification of the production processes, and the use of machines (and techniques) provided by science and technology. However, the simplification of the production processes will sooner or later be superseded under the most recent phase in the development of the industrial mode of production based on electronics and computerization. Robots (or computerized machines in general) will take over the routine tasks and, indeed, much more. The labour force will be a slimline one whose job it is to design, plan, oversee and operate these machines. It will be highly skilled, working flexibly as a team.