From Manufacturing to a Knowledge Economy: Changing the way we interact

Submitted by Rachel Elizabeth on March 24, 2014 - 7:58am

Games: they serve as a great way for us to come and have fun together. In Guelph, they have become a core part of the 20-somethings culture. These games nights also serve as an opportunity for the sharing of ideas and stories.

Recently, at a games night in Guelph, an intense conversation broke out about the changing nature of community after one person in the group lamented about how they had lost the sense of deep connection that they had in their youth. From this, one of the other members of the group put forward a theory for why this shift has occurred which I think is very insightful.

They suggested that one of the driving factors for individualism is tied to the move away from manufacturing and towards a knowledge economy. Manufacturing allowed people to stay in their hometown; people would stay with the same company for their whole life, the same group of co-workers.  As a result, there was a deep sense of belonging that you can still hear sometimes from seniors as they share their stories.


Now, our work is more specialized. This leads to scarcer job opportunities and means we need to travel to get work, causing us to leave our family and friends in search of a job. 

In this field of work, people are more likely to switch jobs on a regular basis, as well. The result of all this is that you have a large proportion of the population regularly on the move due to their job. This transience reduces/prevents many of the opportunities people have to have for deep and meaningful connections, over a long period of time.

As this transition to a knowledge economy continues and we move around more and more, hesitant to lay any deep roots, what will community look like in this new world?