Information revolution

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The term information revolution describes current economic, social and technological trends beyond the Industrial Revolution. The information revolution was enabled by advances in semiconductor technology, particularly the metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) and the integrated circuit (IC) chip, [1] [2] [3] leading to the Information Age in the early 21st century.

Contents

Many competing terms have been proposed that focus on different aspects of this societal development. The British polymath crystallographer J. D. Bernal introduced the term "scientific and technical revolution" in his 1939 book The Social Function of Science to describe the new role that science and technology are coming to play within society. He asserted that science is becoming a "productive force", using the Marxist Theory of Productive Forces. [4] After some controversy, the term was taken up by authors and institutions of the then-Soviet Bloc. Their aim was to show that socialism was a safe home for the scientific and technical ("technological" for some authors) revolution, referred to by the acronym STR. The book Civilization at the Crossroads, edited by the Czech philosopher Radovan Richta (1969), became a standard reference for this topic. [5]

Daniel Bell (1980) challenged this theory and advocated post-industrial society, which would lead to a service economy rather than socialism. [6] Many other authors presented their views, including Zbigniew Brzezinski (1976) with his "Technetronic Society". [7]

Information in social and economic activities

The main feature of the information revolution is the growing economic, social and technological role of information. Information-related activities did not come up with the Information Revolution. They existed, in one form or the other, in all human societies, and eventually developed into institutions, such as the Platonic Academy, Aristotle's Peripatetic school in the Lyceum, the Musaeum and the Library of Alexandria, or the schools of Babylonian astronomy. The Agricultural Revolution and the Industrial Revolution came up when new informational inputs were produced by individual innovators, or by scientific and technical institutions. During the Information Revolution all these activities are experiencing continuous growth, while other information-oriented activities are emerging.

Information is the central theme of several new sciences, which emerged in the 1940s, including Shannon's (1949) Information Theory [8] and Wiener's (1948) Cybernetics . Wiener stated: "information is information not matter or energy". This aphorism suggests that information should be considered along with matter and energy as the third constituent part of the Universe; information is carried by matter or by energy. [9] By the 1990s some writers believed that changes implied by the Information revolution will lead to not only a fiscal crisis for governments but also the disintegration of all "large structures". [10]

The theory of information revolution

The term information revolution may relate to, or contrast with, such widely used terms as Industrial Revolution and Agricultural Revolution. Note, however, that you may prefer mentalist to materialist paradigm. The following fundamental aspects of the theory of information revolution can be given: [11] [12]

  1. The object of economic activities can be conceptualized according to the fundamental distinction between matter, energy, and information. These apply both to the object of each economic activity, as well as within each economic activity or enterprise. For instance, an industry may process matter (e.g. iron) using energy and information (production and process technologies, management, etc.).
  2. Information is a factor of production (along with capital, labor, land (economics)), as well as a product sold in the market, that is, a commodity. As such, it acquires use value and exchange value, and therefore a price.
  3. All products have use value, exchange value, and informational value. The latter can be measured by the information content of the product, in terms of innovation, design, etc.
  4. Industries develop information-generating activities, the so-called Research and Development (R&D) functions.
  5. Enterprises, and society at large, develop the information control and processing functions, in the form of management structures; these are also called "white-collar workers", "bureaucracy", "managerial functions", etc.
  6. Labor can be classified according to the object of labor, into information labor and non-information labor.
  7. Information activities constitute a large, new economic sector, the information sector along with the traditional primary sector, secondary sector, and tertiary sector, according to the three-sector hypothesis. These should be restated because they are based on the ambiguous definitions made by Colin Clark (1940), who included in the tertiary sector all activities that have not been included in the primary (agriculture, forestry, etc.) and secondary (manufacturing) sectors. [13] The quaternary sector and the quinary sector of the economy attempt to classify these new activities, but their definitions are not based on a clear conceptual scheme, although the latter is considered by some as equivalent with the information sector.
  8. From a strategic point of view, sectors can be defined as information sector, means of production, means of consumption, thus extending the classical Ricardo-Marx model of the Capitalist mode of production (see Influences on Karl Marx). Marx stressed in many occasions the role of the "intellectual element" in production, but failed to find a place for it into his model. [14] [15]
  9. Innovations are the result of the production of new information, as new products, new methods of production, patents, etc. Diffusion of innovations manifests saturation effects (related term: market saturation), following certain cyclical patterns and creating "economic waves", also referred to as "business cycles". There are various types of waves, such as Kondratiev wave (54 years), Kuznets swing (18 years), Juglar cycle (9 years) and Kitchin (about 4 years, see also Joseph Schumpeter) distinguished by their nature, duration, and, thus, economic impact.
  10. Diffusion of innovations causes structural-sectoral shifts in the economy, which can be smooth or can create crisis and renewal, a process which Joseph Schumpeter called vividly "creative destruction".

From a different perspective, Irving E. Fang (1997) identified six 'Information Revolutions': writing, printing, mass media, entertainment, the 'tool shed' (which we call 'home' now), and the information highway. In this work the term 'information revolution' is used in a narrow sense, to describe trends in communication media. [16]

Measuring and modeling the information revolution

Porat (1976) measured the information sector in the US using the input-output analysis; OECD has included statistics on the information sector in the economic reports of its member countries. [17] Veneris (1984, 1990) explored the theoretical, economic and regional aspects of the informational revolution and developed a systems dynamics simulation computer model. [11] [12]

These works can be seen as following the path originated with the work of Fritz Machlup who in his (1962) book "The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States", claimed that the "knowledge industry represented 29% of the US gross national product", which he saw as evidence that the Information Age had begun. He defines knowledge as a commodity and attempts to measure the magnitude of the production and distribution of this commodity within a modern economy. Machlup divided information use into three classes: instrumental, intellectual, and pastime knowledge. He identified also five types of knowledge: practical knowledge; intellectual knowledge, that is, general culture and the satisfying of intellectual curiosity; pastime knowledge, that is, knowledge satisfying non-intellectual curiosity or the desire for light entertainment and emotional stimulation; spiritual or religious knowledge; unwanted knowledge, accidentally acquired and aimlessly retained. [18]

More recent estimates have reached the following results: [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

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In microeconomics, economies of scale are the cost advantages that enterprises obtain due to their scale of operation, with cost per unit of output decreasing with increasing scale. At the basis of economies of scale there may be technical, statistical, organizational or related factors to the degree of market control.

Industry Production of goods or service of a given field within an economy

An industry is a sector that produces goods or related services within an economy. The major source of revenue of a group or company is an indicator of what industry it should be classified in. When a large corporate group has multiple sources of revenue generation, it is considered to be working in different industries. The manufacturing industry became a key sector of production and labour in European and North American countries during the Industrial Revolution, upsetting previous mercantile and feudal economies. This came through many successive rapid advances in technology, such as the development of steam power and the production of steel and coal.

Society Group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction

A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the social sciences, a larger society often exhibits stratification or dominance patterns in subgroups.

Human capital is the stock of habits, knowledge, social and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labour so as to produce economic value.

In economics and sociology, the means of production are physical and non-financial inputs used in the production of economic value. These include raw materials, facilities, machinery and tools used in the production of goods and services. In the terminology of classical economics, the means of production are the "factors of production" minus financial and human capital.

The Information Age is a historic period beginning in the 20th century and characterized by the rapid shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization to an economy primarily based upon information technology. The onset of the Information Age can be associated with the development of transistor technology, particularly the MOSFET, which revolutionized modern technology and became the fundamental building block of digital electronics in the information age.

An information society is a society where the usage, creation, distribution, manipulation and integration of information is a significant economic, political, and cultural activity. Its main drivers are information and communication technologies, which have resulted in rapid information growth in variety and is somehow changing all aspects of social organization, including education, economy,, health, governmentwarfare and levels of democracy. The people who are able to partake in this form of society are sometimes called either computer users or even digital citizens, defined by K. Mossberger as “Those who use the Internet regularly and effectively”. This is one of many dozen internet terms that have been identified to suggest that humans are entering a new and different phase of society.

The knowledge economy is the use of knowledge to create goods and services. In particular, it refers to a high portion of skilled workers in the economy of a locality, country, or the world, and the idea that most jobs require specialized skills. In particular, the main personal capital of knowledge workers is knowledge, and many knowledge worker jobs require a lot of thinking and manipulating information as opposed to moving or crafting physical objects. It stands in contrast to an agrarian economy or an industrialized economy. Knowledge economy emphasizes the importance of skills in a service economy, the third phase of economic development, also called a post-industrial economy. It is related to the terms information economy, which emphasizes the importance of information as non-physical capital, and digital economy, which emphasize the degree to which information technology facilitates trade. For companies, intellectual property such as trade secrets, copyrighted material, and patented processes become more valuable in a knowledge economy than in earlier eras.

Post-industrial society societies whose service sector provides more economic value than manufacturing

In sociology, the post-industrial society is the stage of society's development when the service sector generates more wealth than the manufacturing sector of the economy.

Quaternary sector of the economy sector of an economy based on knowledge and skill; further delineation of the three-sector hypothesis of industry in the sense that the quaternary sector refers to a part of the third or tertiary sector along with the quinary economic sector

The quaternary sector is the label used to describe a knowledge-based part of the economy, which typically includes knowledge-oriented economic sectors such as information technology, media, research and development; information-based services such as information-generation and information-sharing; and knowledge-based services such as consultation, education, financial planning, blogging, and designing.

Rostow's Stages of Economic Growth model is one of the major historical models of economic growth. It was published by American economist Walt Whitman Rostow in 1960. The model postulates that economic growth occurs in five basic stages, of varying length:

  1. The traditional society
  2. The preconditions for take-off
  3. The take-off
  4. The drive to maturity
  5. The age of high mass-consumption
Productive forces

Productive forces, productive powers, or forces of production is a central idea in Marxism and historical materialism.

Technological evolution is a theory of radical transformation of society through technological development. This theory originated with Czech philosopher Radovan Richta.

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Criticism of Marxism

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An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services by different agents. Understood in its broadest sense, 'The economy is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources'. Economic agents can be individuals, businesses, organizations, or governments. Economic transactions occur when two groups or parties agree to the value or price of the transacted good or service, commonly expressed in a certain currency. However, monetary transactions only account for a small part of the economic domain. Economic activity is spurred by production which uses natural resources, labor and capital. It has changed over time due to technology, innovation such as, that which produces intellectual property and changes in industrial relations. A given economy is the result of a set of processes that involves its culture, values, education, technological evolution, history, social organization, political structure and legal systems, as well as its geography, natural resource endowment, and ecology, as main factors. These factors give context, content, and set the conditions and parameters in which an economy functions. In other words, the economic domain is a social domain of human practices and transactions. It does not stand alone.

Deindustrialization process of reduction of industrial activity

De-industrialization is a process of social and economic change caused by the removal or reduction of industrial capacity or activity in a country or region, especially of heavy industry or manufacturing industry. It is the opposite of industrialization.

Technological revolution Period of rapid technological change

A technological revolution is a period in which one or more technologies is replaced by another technology in a short amount of time. It is an era of accelerated technological progress characterized by new innovations whose rapid application and diffusion cause an abrupt change in society.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to production:

Historical materialism Marxist historiography

Historical materialism, also known as the materialist conception of history, is a methodology used by some communist and Marxist historiographers that focuses on human societies and their development through history, arguing that history is the result of material conditions rather than ideals. This was first articulated by Karl Marx (1818–1883) as the "materialist conception of history". It is principally a theory of history which asserts that the material conditions of a society's mode of production or in Marxist terms, the union of a society's productive forces and relations of production, fundamentally determine society's organization and development. Historical materialism is an example of Marx and Engel's scientific socialism, attempting to show that socialism and communism are scientific necessities rather than philosophical ideals.

References

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  3. Orton, John W. (2009). Semiconductors and the Information Revolution: Magic Crystals that made IT Happen. Academic Press. pp. 103–5. ISBN   978-0-08-096390-7.
  4. Bernal, J. D. (1939), The Social Function of Science, George Routledge & Sons Ltd., London.
  5. Richta, R., Ed. (1969) Civilization at the Crossroads, ME Sharp, NY
  6. Bell, Daniel (1980), Sociological Journeys: Essays 1960–1980, Heinmann, London ISBN   0435820699
  7. Brzezinski, Z. (1976), Between the Two Ages: America in the Technetronic Era, Penguin ISBN   0313234981
  8. Shannon, C. E. and W. Weaver (1949) The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Urbana, Ill., University of Illinois Press.
  9. Wiener, Norbert (1948) Cybernetics, MIT Press, CA, \\\, p. 155
  10. Davidson, James Dale; William Rees-Mogg] (1999). The sovereign individual . Simon & Schuster. p.  7. ISBN   978-0684832722.
  11. 1 2 Veneris, Y. (1984), The Informational Revolution, Cybernetics and Urban Modeling, PhD Thesis, submitted to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (British Library microfilm no. : D55307/85). [ permanent dead link ].
  12. 1 2 Veneris, Y. (1990). "Modeling the transition from the Industrial to the Informational Revolution". Environment and Planning A. 22 (3): 399–416. doi:10.1068/a220399.
  13. Clark, C. (1940), Conditions of Economic Progress, McMillan and Co, London.
  14. Ricardo, D. (1978) The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, Dent, London. (first published in 1817) ISBN   0486434613.
  15. Marx, K. (1977) Capital, Progress Publishers, Moscow.
  16. Fang, Irving E. (1997) A History of Mass Communication: Six Information Revolutions Archived 2012-04-17 at the Wayback Machine , Focal Press ISBN   0240802543
  17. Porat, M.-U. (1976) The Information Economy, PhD Thesis, Univ. of Stanford. This thesis measured the role of the Information Sector in the US Economy.
  18. Machlup, F. (1962) The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States, Princeton UP.
  19. Hilbert, M.; Lopez, P. (2011). "The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information". Science. 332 (6025): 60–5. doi:10.1126/science.1200970. PMID   21310967.
  20. "video animation on The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information from 1986 to 2010 Archived 2012-01-18 at the Wayback Machine

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