Wikipedia, among his main ideas, mentions:
- The concept of "knowledge worker" in his 1959 book "The Landmarks of Tomorrow". Since then, knowledge-based work has become increasingly important in businesses worldwide.
- The prediction of the death of the "Blue Collar" worker. The changing face of the US Auto Industry is a testimony to this prediction.
G.K. has read “The Age of social transformation ”, by Peter Drucker, 1994. Below are his notes:
The rise and fall of the industrial workers (before them: the peasants and the farmers):
The workers of 1900--and even of 1913--received no pensions, no paid vacation, no overtime pay, no extra pay for Sunday or night work, no health or old-age insurance (except in Germany), no unemployment compensation (except, after 1911, in Britain); they had no job security whatever. Fifty years later, in the 1950s, industrial workers had become the largest single group in every developed country, and unionized industrial workers in mass-production industry (which was then dominant everywhere) had attained upper-middle-class income levels. They had extensive job security, pensions, long paid vacations, and comprehensive unemployment insurance or "lifetime employment." Above all, they had achieved political power. In Britain the labor unions were considered to be the "real government," with greater power than the Prime Minister and Parliament, and much the same was true elsewhere. In the United States, too--as in Germany, France, and Italy--the labor unions had emerged as the country's most powerful and best organizedpolitical force. And in Japan they had come close, in the Toyota and Nissan strikes of the late forties and early fifties, to overturning the system and taking power themselves.
Thirty-five years later, in 1990, industrial workers and their unions were in retreat. They had become marginal in numbers. Whereas industrial workers who make or move things had accounted for two fifths of the American work force in the 1950s, they accounted for less than one fifth in the early 1990s--that is, for no more than they had accounted for in 1900, when their meteoric rise began. In the other developed free-market countries the decline was slower at first, but after 1980 it began to accelerate everywhere. By the year 2000 or 2010, in every developed free-market country, industrial workers will account for no more than an eighth of the work force. Union power has been declining just as fast.
the traditional industrial worker become an auxiliary employee. His place is already being taken by the "technologist"--someone who works both with hands and with theoretical knowledge. (Examples are computer technicians, x-ray technicians, physical therapists, medical-lab technicians, pulmonary technicians, and so on, who together have made up the fastest-growing group in the U.S. labor force since 1980.
The author defends capitalism and imperialism
Beginning in 1881, two years before Marx's death, the systematic study of work, tasks, and tools raised the productivity of manual work in making and moving things by three to four percent compound on average per year--for a fiftyfold increase in output per worker over 110 years. On this rest all the economic and social gains of the past century. And contrary to what "everybody knew" in the nineteenth century--not only Marx but all the conservatives as well, such as J. P. Morgan, Bismarck, and Disraeli--practically all these gains have accrued to the industrial worker, half of them in the form of sharply reduced working hours (with the cuts ranging from 40 percent in Japan to 50 percent in Germany), and half of them in the form of a twenty-five-fold increase in the real wages of industrial workers who make or move things
The newly emerging dominant group is "knowledge workers." The very term was unknown forty years ago. (I coined it in a 1959 book, Landmarks of Tomorrow.) By the end of this century knowledge workers will make up a third or more of the work force in the United States--as large a proportion as manufacturing workers ever made up, except in wartime. The majority of them will be paid at least as well as, or better than, manufacturing workers ever were. And the new jobs offer much greater opportunities.
the great majority of the new jobs require qualifications the industrial worker does not possess and is poorly equipped to acquire. They require a good deal of formal education and the ability to acquire and to apply theoretical and analytical knowledge. They require a different approach to work and a different mind-set. Above all, they require a habit of continuous learning
It is widely believed, especially by labor-union officials, that the fall of the blue-collar industrial worker in the developed countries was largely, if not entirely, caused by moving production "offshore" to countries with abundant supplies of unskilled labor and low wage rates. But this is not true. - ?
In the 1990s only an insignificant percentage of manufactured goods imported into the United States are produced abroad because of low labor costs. While total imports in 1990 accounted for about 12 percent of the U.S. gross personal income, imports from countries with significantly lower wage costs accounted for less than three percent--and only half of those were imports of manufactured products. Practically none of the decline in American manufacturing employment from some 30 or 35 percent of the work force to 15 or 18 percent can therefore be attributed to moving work to low-wage countries – this is false. Most of the manufactured products, like this computer, come from China. And this is not because of its automation, but because of its cheap labor + some automaton + cheap raw materials. However, the long-term tendency is towards automation and computerization (automation of simple intellectual work).
knowledge workers will give the emerging knowledge society its character, its leadership, its social profile. They may not be the ruling class of the knowledge society, but they are already its leading class
Education will become the center of the knowledge society, and the school its key institution.
an educated person will be somebody who has learned how to learn, and who continues learning, especially by formal education, throughout his or her lifetime
Sees only one trend in history – toward specialization, not towards “generalization” too: In the knowledge society knowledge for the most part exists only in application. Nothing the x-ray technician needs to know can be applied to market research, for instance, or to teaching medieval history. The central work force in the knowledge society will therefore consist of highly specialized people. In fact, it is a mistake to speak of "generalists."
In knowledge economy, the workers “own” their means of production – knowledge.
the true investment in the knowledge society is not in machines and tools but in the knowledge of the knowledge worker
Knowledge has no “price”, implies a moneyless production mode
School as the center of knowledge society. But school as a theoretical-practical school