Knowledge Economy for Whom? How the neoliberal knowledge economy creates risk for working class students

  • Vicky Smith


Bell (1976) argued that western countries and the U.S are passing from an industrial to a postindustrial period of society, which is described as ‘The Information Society’ (Bell 1976). Bell states that “instead of society based on a labour theory of value… the post-industrial society rests on a knowledge theory of valuethat is to say, value is fundamentally increased, not by labour, but by knowledge” (Bell, 1976: 46). Bell identified key shifts in post-industrial societies employment structures such as the decline of unskilled manufacturing employment and the growth of high skilled, managerial, technical and professional occupations in sectors such as business and education services (Grint & Nixon, 2015). For Bell (1976), the post-industrial society is a knowledge economy because future job growth would be focused in high skilled occupations, which would dictate a massive expansion of higher education to provide the high skilled workers demanded by the new knowledge economy (Grint & Nixon, 2015).