Posted on December 15, 2014
The modern era has witnessed two great periods of transformation that radically changed the global economy and the very nature of human existence. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries and the shift to a postindustrial economy over the past fifty years are old news. Today, the Global Economy is undergoing a third period of transformation into a new Digital Age that promises to be even more dramatic in its impact. In this article, we will address some of the forces driving this change and provide our predictions as to which industries and economic sectors will be affected first. For a video discussion of the topics covered in this email click here.
Manufacturing dominated the American economy for almost 100 years commencing in the late 1860s, but, beginning in the 1960s, manufacturing was rapidly eclipsed by a new services and trade based economy. A quick look at the chart below demonstrates how overwhelming that trend has been. From 1850 to 2010, primary and secondary manufacturing in the United States dropped from approximately 80% of the US economic output to its current level closer to 20%. Tertiary industries, Clark’s name for what we would today call services, finance, retail, and distribution grew from approximately 17% of the economy in 1852, to 70% today, with the most important portion of this transition occurring since the 1960s. While the Industrial Revolution took almost 150 years to fully play out, the shift to a services and trade based economy happened in less than half that time.
We have now entered a new era that will impact most sectors of the global economy. This new transition promises even more radical change. We are only in the early innings, but this game will play out far more rapidly than its predecessors. Driving this … read the rest