To say we’ve deindustrialised is an understatement. Manufacturing has more than halved as a percentage of GDP, while “services” – that great amorphous sector ranging from Greggs to Goldman Sachs – is now far bigger than manufacturing ever was.
Manufacturing is also larger than it was then too. Manufacturing output is up from the 70s. Sure, it’s shrunk as a percentage of the economy: but then manufacturing has shrunk as a percentage of the global economy too. And manufacturing employment is down but that’s because of automation, not anything else. The global number of people in manufacturing is also shrinking now.
This isn’t some policy decision that anyone has made. It’s just the way that economies develop. First we all work in agriculture and then that’s mechanised. This means people move over into manufacturing and then that’s mechanised. Thus we all work in services.
It’s simply not been a policy choice, just the way the world works. Most importantly, it’s not reversible nor is it even desirable that it should be.