self-service economy

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An economy in which a large and increasing proportion of household expenditure is invested in durable goods (such as tools and machinery) which allow consumers to produce services for themselves (rather than buying the services as in a service economy). Two processes are said to be encouraging this trend in some advanced capitalist societies: technical innovation leading to cheaper and simpler capital machinery; and rising labour costs (see J. Gershuny, After Industrial Society?, 1978). See also industrial sector; service industries.

Subjects: Sociology.

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