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Rencontres Valmer
Rencontres Valmer (Photo credit: CMI Marseille)

Economies have to date largely followed a similar path no matter which geographical region;

  1. Pre-Industrial – typified as an agricultural economic model
  2. Industrial – mostly based on manufacturing and engineering
  3. Post-Industrialmass production, mass customization, services
  4. Knowledge Economy – education, growth of artificial knowledge, research & development

Our latest economic manifestation is dependent on an integrated IT/communications structures being in place & an IT literate populace. Data handling, algorithms, simulated modeling, innovation of products and processes – this is the currency of language used. Basically the world economy is coming to rely on well placed clusters of highly motivated, connected, intelligent collaborations of engineers, chemists, biologists, physicists… the fabric of modern economies is reliant on knowledge.

The global depletion of natural resources is a natural driver of the green-infrastructure, the pressure to deliver ever improved products at ever decreasing prices means research is paramount. Knowledge provides the answers, knowledge is the foundation stone of the problem solving that is taking place at ever increasingly faster pace with vaster amounts of information to analyse.

Its now being suggested that the next economic model will be the Network Economy where the localized knowledge amassed is shared across vast networks globally (and perhaps further in time).

There are interlocking drivers for this revolution:

  1. Globalization – markets and products are more and more globally sought and provided
  2. Information – efficiency in production means knowledge, over 70% of workers in developed knowledge based economies are knowledge workers (they use their heads rather than their hands)
  3. Media – media spreads knowledge, knowledge increases as its used, existing knowledge becomes easier to access as a result of data-bases
  4. Computer Networking – the internet is bringing the global village ever closer

Goods and services can be bought internationally and sold from almost anywhere you can be based provided you have a connection, a computer, phone and access to funds just about anywhere on the planet.

The economics are not related to scarcity; unlike most resources, knowledge when used increases in volume. The economics therefore are related to how information, how knowledge is filtered for effective use. The danger therefore of the exponential growth of the amount of information is that the really important stuff is lost in the wires. The challenge is to effectively filter and bring to the fore that knowledge which is needed and that which is not.

My guess is that a concerted effort by any or some of the emerging economies to bring about a knowledge based economy may just leap-frog them past the industrial stuff. It will however, take a huge effort and present a massive risk but good luck to them if they try.


One thought on “Savoir-Faire

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    September 6, 2013 at 21:32

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