Knowledge As The Means of Production: A Lesson from Drucker

The May 4th page of The Daily Drucker talks about knowledge as the means of production, which Drucker interpreted as the knowledge required for the job. He was discussing this in a section from Managing in the Next Society. Here he listed three characteristics of the next society. These are:

  • Borderlessness, because knowledge travels even more effortlessly than money.
  • Upward mobility, available to everyone through easily acquired formal education.
  • The potential for failure, as well as success. Anyone can acquire the “means of production,” that is, the knowledge required for the job, but not everyone can win.

With the recent recession and resulting job loss, particularly of blue collar, manual labor type of positions we have come to see how important having an education and knowledge has become. An aquaintance of mine related that their company had closed several plants last year. The employees had been given severance of over two months plus paid out any remaining vacation. Now 8 months later there are rumors that they are trying to get a class action suit together because the severance was “not fair.” Well good luck with that one. It certainly indicates that most of these people are still unemployed. There are probably several reasons, including age and region of the country. But one reason is also lack of education. They didn’t have it to begin with and they probably have made no attemtp to get it.
Yes I understand that if you are unemployed you can’t just run off to college. But their are ways to acquire knowledge, that “means of production” (This means INDIVIDUAL PRODUCTION to me) that are financially supported by the Federal government. The Workforce Investment Act is one of those programs. It provides money and opportunities for displaced workers to get retrained in fields that will make them more employable. I have personal experience with this program and know that it has helped many, many people become trained in other fields, including Human Resources.
So as Drucker says formal education can be easily obtained and anyone can acquire the means to increase their personal production. Some will succeed and some will fail. Those that succeed will be more attractive to companies and become more employable. Those that don’t, well they are looking at a hard life of welfare.
In  today’s world you have to change what you know. You will not survive trying to apply what you used to know to today’s world of work. As Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. (Article Source:

2 thoughts on “Knowledge As The Means of Production: A Lesson from Drucker”

  1. Another great post, Mike!
    I can’t agree more about the importance of finding ways to learn and sharpen and expand your skills in this day & age. There are still so many resources available out there to help people advance their education and skills. You just have to be willing to look and work for it. That’s where the problem lies. People have really lost their hustle.
    Thank you for the info on the Workforce Investment Act. I actually hadn’t heard of it. It will definitely be useful to me and some people I know.

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