Until recently, economists and politicians assumed that displaced factory workers would find new job opportunities in the service sector. Now, however, the service sector is also beginning to automate, eliminating vast numbers of white collar workers in the process. In banking, insurance and the wholesale and retails sectors, companies are deconstructing. They are eliminating layer after layer of management and infrastructure, replacing the traditional corporate pyramid and mass white collar workforces with small, highly skilled professional work teams, using state of the art software and telecommunication technologies. Even those companies that continue to use large numbers of white collar workers have changed the conditions of employment, transferring workers from permanent jobs to "just-in-time" employment, including leased, temporary and contingent work, in an effort to reduce wage and benefit packages, cut labour costs and increase profit margins.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.