After 10,000 years, farming bypassed as leading industry06 Sep 2007
Peter Magnusson has been reading reports from the International Labor Organization, and finds this to be the most significant part:
Worldwide, in 1996 agriculture employed 42%, industry 21%, and services 37%. In 2006, the numbers are 36%, 22%, and 42%. So in the period, services has overtaken farming on a global scale.
To me this stuck out as the news of the day. This is a tremendous milestone. In the west we're accustomed to the farming sector being 4-6% or so, but that certaintly not true in most of the world. You might think the industrial revolution was a long time ago, but the reality is that more people have continued to work in farming. Until sometime in these past few years that is.
And thus passes a tremendous milestone in the history of our species. Farming, invented around 8000 BC, quickly dominated human activity and has so continued to for the following 10,000 years (give or take a few). And we even find that the tradition agriculture->industry->services transition doesn't hold up globally. The industry segment simply isn't big enough, so many workers skip to services.
In other words, today more of the world's workers are catering to other people, via the services industry, than are producing food. That really is earthshaking.