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For the first time in 10,000 years, farming is not the dominating industry September 5, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle.
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For the first time in 10,000 years, farming is not the dominating industry « Peter S Magnusson
So, firstly, modernization of large economies is largely bypassing industrialization and going straight for service industries – in our western economies the service sector was about two-thirds of the economy, and has grown further (to 71.2%). But the so large parts of the world economy are moving straight to service industries that their roles have changed. Worldwide, in 1996 agriculture employed 42%, industry 21%, and services 37%. In 2006, the numbers are 36%, 22%, and 42%. So in the period, services has overtaken farming on a global scale.

In recent years agriculture has lost its place as the main sector of employment and has been replaced by the services sector, which in 2006 constituted 42.0 per cent of world employment compared to 36.1 per cent for agriculture. As for the industry sector, it represented 21.9 per cent of total employment, which is almost unchanged from ten years ago. Although textbook theory suggests that economic development entails a structural transformation with a shift away from agriculture to the industry sector, this no longer seems to be reflected in reality. Instead of moving into high-productivity jobs in the industry sector, people are moving directly into the services sector, which consists of both high- and low-productivity jobs.

Therefore, it is unclear if the sectoral shift goes hand in hand with productivity increases and thereby a better utilization of the workforce. Agriculture is still the main sector of employment in the world’s poorest regions. Two-thirds of workers in sub-Saharan Africa and almost half of workers in South Asia and South-East Asia & the Pacific are in agriculture.

So, firstly, modernization of large ecnomies is largely bypassing industrialization and going straight for service industries – in our western economies the service sector was about two-thirds of the economy, and has grown further (to 71.2%). But the so large parts of the world economy are moving straight to service industries that their roles have changed. Worldwide, in 1996 agriculture employed 42%, industry 21%, and services 37%. In 2006, the numbers are 36%, 22%, and 42%. So in the period, services has overtaken farming on a global scale.

To me this stuck out as the news of the day. This is a tremendous milestone. In the west we’re accustomed to the farming sector being 4-6% or so, but that certaintly not true in most of the word. You might think the industrial revolution was a long time ago, but the reality is that more people have continued to work in farming. Until sometime in these past few years that is.

And thus passes a tremendous milestone in the history of our species. Farming, invented around 8000 BC, quickly dominated human activity and has so continued to for the following 10,000 years (give or take a few). And we even find that the tradition agriculture->industry->services transition doesn’t hold up globally. The industry segment simply isn’t big enough, so many workers skip to services.

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