Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.

Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.
Image by Cameron Lyall, GNU license Wikimedia

22 July 2011

Post-Scotland Post-Industrialism Post

My view of post-industrialism has been broadened by this trip. One example of this is that the post-industrial era is older than I thought. Also, in trying to redefine this term with the sites I’ve visited, I ended up with a less precise but more inclusive definition. It’s a lot bigger than I thought. I would have pinned the term post-industrial firmly in the last 40 years. Now I realize that it is much older.

I tried to boil down post-industrialism Into a process: find a niche, fill the niche, and eliminate waste. Technology creates efficiency, efficiency creates time, and time creates detail. But the post-industrialsim isn’t as linear.

In trying to figure out this shape. I even made a neat little doodle. Raw Materials in the middle. And the materials travel along those dashes to dots. The dashes are shipping and the nodes are factories. Instead of a linear industrial model, we see a web of interconnectedness that can be much more complicated but can easily be done by computers calculating logistics.

Logistics came up a lot. I need to learn more about his but even though it is important, It’s one of the leading factors in outsourcing after all, It’s not necessarily post industrial. The telegraph changed logistics, but then the telegraph is post industrial. Logistics is ancient, it predates industry.

The post-industrial era has more constraints than the previous era. Like the fake but apt Mandarin ideogram that is supposed to made of the ideograms for both crisis and opportunity. One crisis appears to be the social impact of post industrialism.

I used to see the social response to post-industrialism as natural and inevitable. But a significant portion of the population is negatively effected, There are a lot of people who are training for conditions that don’t exist.

There is an important social issue here. Education and Class rights. The time for cheap manual labor is over. Just to get by in a post-industrial economy people will need more education. Blue collar jobs are less and less each year and being replaced by very limited service jobs. Factories used to offer health insurance. McDonald’s, Wal-mart, and other large companies will often employ people for 39 hours a week o avoid giving them benefits.

They often use the fact that many people only have a high school diploma against them. There are many jobs that now require a college degree than didn’t a few years ago. And some companies don’t care which degree you have they just want to limit their applicants to people with college education

Technology is even a double edged sword. It can free up time, disperse work and aid collaboration. these are ideals however as many of these technologies are having quite the opposite effect. The truth is I don’t know what post-industrialism will do. there is an ideal but it’ll take a lot of work to get there and there are downsides along the way. The simple rosy picture I had when I came here is gone. And this change is a good thing.

The post-industrial era is here, and it’s here to stay. I can’t really define it as my scope has expanded and I haven’t found the words. I may just have to use the funniest supreme court line (In which a justice attempted to define pornography) and say “I know it when I see it.”

One thing I am sure of. There is no one future, just as there is no one cause in history. Another lovely analogy I learned was Arielle’s Swiss Cheese model of problems. The holes in various layers can give an opportunity for a weakness just as holes on pieces of Swiss cheese can line up. Whatever the future brings it won’t be one large revolution but many small ones.

Plus we got to see Puffins

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