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Economy and Society

One of the most significant developments of modern times is the creation of a global economy, affecting work worldwide. The concept of the global economy acknowledges that all dimensions of the economy now cross national borders, including investment, production, management, markets, labor, information, and technology. Economic events in one nation now can have major reverberations throughout the world. When the economies of any major nation are unstable, the effects are felt worldwide.

In the global economy, the most developed countries control research and management, and assembly line work is performed in nations with less privileged positions in the global economy. A single product, such as an automobile, may be assembled from parts made all over the world - the engine assembled in Mexico, tires manufactured in Malaysia, electronic parts constructed in China. The relocation of manufacturing to wherever labor is cheap has led to the emergence of the global assembly line, a new international division of labor in which research and development is conducted in the United States, Japan, Germany, and other major world powers, and the assembly of goods is done primarily in underdeveloped and poor nations mostly by women and children.

The development of a global economy is part of the broad process of economic restructuring, which refers to the contemporary transformations in the basic structure of work that are permanently altering the workplace. This process includes the changing composition of the workplace, deindustrialization, and use of enhanced technology. Some changes are demographic that is, resulting from changes in the population. The labor force is becoming more diverse, with women and people of color becoming the major- ity of those employed. Other changes are driven by technological developments. For example, the economy is based less on its earlier manufacturing base and more on service industries those in which the primary business is not the production of goods, but the delivery of services (banking, health care, provision of food, or the like). All these developments are happening within a global context.

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