Technical Change and the Work/Leisure Balance: A New System of Socio-economic Accounts

  • Jonathan Gershuny
Part of the British Association for the Advancement of Science book series


The conventional account of long term socio-economic change embodies a quite straightforward view of the relationship between technological advance and the development process. New technologies mean new and more efficient ways of producing the goods and services that people consume. Production of basic commodities becomes more efficient, so more resources can be devoted to the production of luxuries. At first, most of a society’s resources must be addressed to the satisfaction of primary wants; technological advance improves productivity in the primary sector, less labour is required to feed the population. So productive resources are diverted, first to manufacturing and then to services. Consumption and production shift in step from the primary to the tertiary sector. And class cleavages reflect the changing sectoral balance: first the landless oppose the landed, then the industrial labour class opposes capital, and finally the new post-industrial ‘service class’ opposes the old manufacturing interests of unreconstructed labour and capital.


Technical Change Time Budget Unpaid Work Housework Time Related Travel 
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© The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1989

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  • Jonathan Gershuny

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