By Jonathan Gershuny
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Additional info for After Industrial Society?: The Emerging Self-service Economy
Men and women should be returned to work as controllers ofmachines, and the control ofpeople by machines (should) be curtailed ... the effects of changes in technology and organisation oflife patterns (should be) taken into careful consideration, and the changes be withheld or introduced on the basis of this consideration. (pp. 253-5, my parentheses) Player Piano again carried the liberal humanist, Buddhist economist, message - though here by awful warning rather than by good example. Before we proceed to consider the position more critically we might briefty note the similarity between the two books.
He considers, for example, the workplace: There are specific problems here of the division of labour and how to relax its rigidities. Workplaces do not have to be as overdetermined as they often are. Experiments in group cooperation even on the assembly line, in a wider involvement of employees in the organisation of work, in industrial Jlfew Liberty, participation, are promising. (Dahrendorf, The jlfew p. 75) With this comes a bundle ofliberal proposals for improving quality oflife; continuing education, available as ofright of right to all members of the society and to be taken at any stage of life; income maintenance to free individuals from the sort of economic insecurity which might lead them to desire economic growth above improvement; more leisure, and a wider range of opportunities for enjoying it (including (induding taking second jobs); and most important, liberating individuals (particularly housewives) from the necessity of doing some particular and undesired job.
Answers somewhat in the negative, and yet the whole drift of the argument of the book outside these few pages points in precisely the opposite direction, at least as regards material consumption. 5 In the Introduction, Bell quotes approvingly the arguments of Colin Clark in The Conditions oJ Economic Progress6 to the effect that the needs of developed societies are increasingly for the provision of immaterial services, and this theme-as for instance in the title of the second chapter 'From Goods to Services: The Changing Shape of the Economy'extends throughout his book; so he dearly does believe in at least the end of material scarcity as a problem for the individual.
After Industrial Society?: The Emerging Self-service Economy by Jonathan Gershuny