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Manuel Castells states that information economy is not mutually exclusive with manufacturing economy. He finds that some countries such as Germany and Japan exhibit the informatization of manufacturing processes. In a typical conceptualization, however, information economy is considered a "stage" or "phase" of an economy, coming after stages of hunting, agriculture, and manufacturing. This conceptualization can be widely observed regarding information society, a closely related but wider concept.
There are numerous characterizations of the transformations some economies have undergone. Service economy, high-tech economy, late-capitalism, post-Fordism, and global economy are among the most frequently used terms, having some overlaps and contradictions among themselves. Closer terms to information economy would include knowledge economy and post-industrial economy.
Also, see The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker (1966); Drucker describes the manual worker (page 2) who works with his hands and produces "stuff". The knowledge worker (page 3) works with his head and produces ideas, knowledge, and information.