The Great Experiment Continues
David Pearce Snyder
Life Styles Editor
Although it has been more than 50 years since the world’s first electronic computer was switched on, it has only been in recent months that most people have begun to fully comprehend the power of information technology to alter the details of every aspect of daily life and work. It is now clear that, like the Agricultural, Mercantile and Industrial Revolutions before it, the "Info-mation Revolution" will transform the nature of human enterprise and reshape the future of civilization. What’s more, this process is already underway.
·Info-mation will steadily reduce the direct labor required by all production operations and information services; this increased output per worker is already generating higher wages and stable prices and, over time, it will reduce workforces of individual plant and office operations.
·The demand for office space will be further reduced by the "unbundling" of most large employers into "distributed" enterprises, up to two-thirds of whose workers will be part-time, intermittent, flex-place, shift workers, consultants, contractors or sub-contractors by 2010, and 25 percent to 30 percent of all gainful employment will take place in the home.
·The smaller scale individual operations characteristic of distributed enterprise will require smaller labor pools and less substantial infrastructure support than large industrial operations, and will permit a growing number of employers to migrate out of expensive cities and suburbs into lost-cost, high-quality exurban and rural areas. This dispersion of production and population will largely forestall further growth of existing metropolitan areas.
·The economic revitalization of old industrial cities will require the mass recycling of major urban structures, converting office buildings into residences, factories into community centers, shopping malls into health clinics, etc., and necessitating major changes in zoning and building codes.
In this whirlwind exploration of the next 10 years, futurist David Pearce Snyder will describe how the simultaneous integration of the global economy and the dis-aggregation of industrial enterprise will lead to a worldwide re-invention of the workplace and the redistribution of population on the land.
© 2000 David Pearce Snyder
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