Post-industrial society

Post-industrial society

A post-industrial society is a society in which an economic transition has occurred from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy, a diffusion of national and global capital, and mass privatization. The prerequisites to this economic shift are the processes of industrialization and liberalization. This economic transition spurs a restructuring in society as a whole. [Ritzer, George. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. Second Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.]

Social and economic attributes of the post-industrial society

The University of Maryland's George Ritzer provides six changes in social structure associated with the transition to a post-industrial society:

#Within the economy, there is a transition from goods production to the provision of services. Production of such goods as clothing and steel declines and services such as selling hamburgers and offering advice on investments increase. Although services predominate in a wide range of sectors, health, education, research, and government services are the most decisive for a post-industrial society.
#The Importance of blue-collar, manual work (e.g., assembly line workers) declines and professional (lawyers) and technical work (computer programmers) come to predominate. Of special importance is the rise of scientists (e.g., specialized engineers, such as genetic or electric).
#Instead of practical know-how, theoretical knowledge is increasingly essential in a post-industrial society. Such knowledge is seen as the basic source of innovation (e.g., the knowledge created by those scientists involved in the Human Genome Project is leading to new ways of treating many diseases). Advances in knowledge also lead to the need for other innovations such as ways of dealing with ethical questions raised by advances in cloning technology. All of this involved an emphasis on theoretical rather than empirical knowledge and on the codification of knowledge. The exponential growth of theoretical and codified knowledge, in all its varieties, is central to emergence of the post-industrial society.
#Post-industrial society seeks to assess the impacts of the new technologies and, where necessary, to exercise control over them. The hope is, for example, to better monitor things like nuclear power plants and to improve them so that accidents like that at Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl can be prevented in the future. The goal is a surer and more secure technological world.
#To handle such assessment and control, and more generally the sheer complexity of post-industrial society, new intellectual technologies are developed and implemented. They include cybernetics, game theory and information theory.
#A new relationship is forged in the post-industrial society between scientists and the new technologies they create, as well as systematic technological growth, lies at the base of post-industrial society. This leads to the need for more universities and university-based student. In fact, the university is crucial to post-industrial society. The university produced the experts who can create, guide, and control the new and dramatically changing technologies. [Ritzer, George. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. Second Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.]

Daniel Bell develops the idea of "Post-Industrial Society"

Daniel Bell primarily established the idea of the post-industrial society through his 1973 work "The Coming of Post-Industrial Society". Within this work he describes the U.S.S.R. and the United States as the only two industrialized nations. The dichotomy between the two was the capitalist and the collectivist mindsets. He correctly predicted the attributes of the post-industrial capitalist society, such as the global diffusion of capital, the imbalance of international trade, and the decline of the manufacturing sector on the U.S. domestic front. [Bell, Daniel. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1974.]

Cultural aspect of post-industrial society

Bell emphasized the changes to post-industrial society are not merely socially structural and economic; the values and norms within the post-industrial society are changed as well. Rationality and efficiency become the paramount values within the post-industrial society. Eventually, according to Bell, these values cause a disconnect between social structures and culture. Most of today's unique modern problems can be generally attributed to the effects of the post-industrial society. These problems are particularly pronounced where the free market dominates. They can include economic inequality, the outsourcing of domestic jobs, etc. [Bell, Daniel. The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1974.]


Bell's theory is not without problems (Veneris, 1984, 1990). Bell (1973, p.15) stated that his "post-industrial society" is a "service economy". "Services" is the third economic sector according to Colin Clark, the other two being the "primary" and the "secondary" (that is why the service sector is called also "tertiary").Bell is aware that of the inadequacy of the "service sector" approach.

The theory of the Information revolution provides a much clearer theoretical and empirical method framework than the "post-industrial society". One should note also that when historians and sociologists considered the revolution which followed the agricultural society they did not call it "post-agricultural" society/revolution. Instead, they tried to identify the most salient feature of the new revolution and coined the term "industrial". In a similar manner, the term "post-industrial" is problematic since it signifies only a departure, not a direction, and an alternative term should be sought. [ Veneris, Yannis. The Informational Revolution, Cybernetics and Urban Modelling, PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 1984. This thesis explored trends and theories (general economic and regional), and developed a large scale dynamic simulation model of the transition from an industrial to an informational economy.] [ Veneris, Yannis. Modeling the transition from the Industrial to the Informational Revolution, Environment and Planning A 22(3):399-416, 1990. [] ]


Examples of post-industrial societies include the United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe. The "post-industrial" period did not begin until during or after World War II, according to most sociologists: "Western sociologists usually maintain that the basis of the post-industrial society began to be formed in the late 1950s and that the process has been gaining ground ever since." [Inozemtsev V.L. [ The Inevitability of a Post-Industrial World: Concerning the Polarity of Today's World Order] , Global FOCUS, Vol. 13, No. 2. P. 60-79 (2001).]


External links

* [ Post Industrial Society Essay] Bell’s ‘post-industrial society’, criticisms of his analysis of the role of information and knowledge in relation to contemporary social change and the extent of these changes. (2005)

See also

* Alvin Toffler
* Alain Touraine
* Heinz von Foerster
* Late modernity
* Late capitalism
* Industrial society
* Information society
* Information revolution
* Network society
* Sleepers, Wake!
* Sociocultural evolution
* Technological singularity

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