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Information society, task mobility and the end of work.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date06/2000
JournalFutures
Journal number5
Volume32
Number of pages18
Pages399-416
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The emergence of a global information society has led to a decline of manufacturing employment and the expansion of the service sector in the most developed economies of the global system. To replace lost manufacturing jobs, many commentators and policy makers have suggested that information and knowledge work represents the future for displaced workers, and have recommended policies to support IT skills. However, in this article I argue that informational labour is just as amenable to task migration as manufacturing work, and thus policy prescriptions based on the presumption that developed states will retain most if not all knowledge work are mistaken. Some developing states such as India and the Caribbean Islands are already successfully competing against knowledge services in the OECD states. With the further development of global electronic networking informational tasks are likely to be increasingly mobile. While this will aid development outside the rich states, it will also reinforce the dynamic of income inequality and under-employment in Europe and America. Thus, the global information society represents a further challenge to the developed states' labour forces rather than their delivery from low cost manufacturing competition.