ERIC Number: ED275585
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr-2
Towards Information-Based Economies.
An information society is one in which the expression "to earn one's daily bread by the sweat of one's brow" appears decidedly anachronistic. People have been seduced by the rhetoric of novelty and confused by the surface significance of terms which have become accepted parts of everyday speech. What do rubrics such as information society, information age, post-industrial society, information economy, and micro millenium actually denote? Merely using such terms does not imply a clear understanding of the issue. Frequently used definitions are too broad and too elastic to be useful. Greater refinement is needed to differentiate between occupations informational in character and those which are simply information intensive. Toffler used a social wave front analysis technique to illustrate fundamental transformations in socio-economic functioning. Others, including Bell, provided a framework in which to analyze and comprehend macro-level changes in late industrial societies. The growing awareness that information behaves as an active economic resource has focused attention on occupational activity shifts within developed nations. Economists such as Machlup and Porat have highlighted the growing proportion of the labor force involved in the generation, processing, and distribution of information. Naisbitt corrected the popular misconception that job growth is the preserve of the high-tech, sunrise industries. In fact, only about 10 percent of the jobs created in the past ten years have been high-tech jobs. The subject is further clouded by the widespread difficulty of distinguishing between service and information industries. An information systems typology becomes necessary as the volume of information in circulation increases. An expanded typology might comprise the following systems: mission-based, discipline-specific, intelligence processing, repository/archival, corporate social utility/problem-solving, and homespun/personal. Collectively, these systems constitute the engine of information-based economies in which information possesses the features of a "hidden property good." Nevertheless, it may be more instructive to think of information as a social and economic lubricant: man cannot live on information alone. (BZ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented as the Annual Lazerow Memorial Lecture (3rd, Bloomington, IN, April 2, 1986).