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Competitiveness and its predecessors - a 500-year cross-national perspective

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  • Reinert, Erik S.

Abstract

Even a casual observer of the practice and science of management will not fail to notice how a continuous flow of new concepts are born, become fashionable, and then disappear from management jargon. A recent article in Financial Times (1, p. 10) suggests the term ’corporate grafitti’ - or ’management grafitti’ - to describe the unthinking use of buzz-words. Management language is 'opaque, ugly, and clichéridden', FT claims. 'Management grafitti' is intended as the catch-phrase to end all catch-phrases. In this paper I shall argue that, although often misused and mostly ill-defined, the term competitiveness properly used does describe an important feature in the world economy. This concept scratches the surface of important issues which are central for understanding the distribution of wealth, both nationally and globally. In spite of its fairly recent appearance on the scene, the term competitiveness in my view addresses issues which have been central in public policy at least during the last 500 years, albeit under different headings. I shall also argue that competitiveness - properly used - exposes important weaknesses in the neo-classical economic paradigm. This could then account for the vehemence with which some mainstream economists attack the use of the term.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 48155.

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Date of creation: 1994
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48155

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Keywords: Economic development; competitiveness; historical perspective;

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References

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  1. Keith Smith & Karl Führer & Espen Dietrichs & Errko Autio, . "Innovation Activities in Pulp, Paper and Paper Products in Europe," STEP Report series 199704, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  2. Krugman, Paul R, 1993. "What Do Undergrads Need to Know about Trade?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 23-26, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Sanjaya Lall, . "Comparing National Competitive Performance: An Economic Analysis of World Economic Forum's Competitiveness Index," QEH Working Papers qehwps61, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  2. Roberto Cellino & Anna Soci, 2002. "Pop competitiveness," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 55(220), pages 71-101.
  3. Sanjaya Lall, 2013. "Reinventing Industrial Strategy: The Role Of Government Policy In Building Industrial Competitiveness," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(2), pages 785-829, November.
  4. Christian Fischer & Sebastian Schornberg, 2007. "Assessing the competitiveness situation of EU food and drink manufacturing industries: An index-based approach," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 473-495.
  5. Roberto Cellino & Anna Soci, 2002. "Pop competitiveness," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 55(220), pages 71-101.
  6. Cimoli, Mario & Porcile, Gabriel, 2011. "Technology, structural change and BOP constrained growth: A structuralist toolbox," MPRA Paper 33800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Erik S. Reinert, 2006. "European Integration, Innovations and Uneven Economic Growth: Challenges and Problems of EU 2005," The Other Canon Foundation and Tallinn University of Technology Working Papers in Technology Governance and Economic Dynamics 05, TUT Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance.
  8. Lall, Sanjaya, 2001. "Competitiveness Indices and Developing Countries: An Economic Evaluation of the Global Competitiveness Report," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(9), pages 1501-1525, September.
  9. Igor Pilipenko, 2005. "Clusters and Territorial-Industrial Complexes - Similar Approaches or Different Concepts? - first Evidence from Analysis of Development of Russian Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa05p70, European Regional Science Association.
  10. Sanjaya Lall, . "Selective Industrial and Trade Policies in Developing Countries: Theoretical and Empirical Issues," QEH Working Papers qehwps48, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  11. Ngai-Ling Sum & Bob Jessop, 2013. "Competitiveness, the Knowledge-Based Economy and Higher Education," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 24-44, March.
  12. Cimoli, Mario & Fleitas, Sebastian & Porcile, Gabriel, 2011. "Real Exchange Rate and the Structure of Exports," MPRA Paper 37846, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Gabriel Porcile & Marcio Holland & Mario Cimoli & Luciana Rosas, 2006. "Especialización, tecnología y crecimiento en el modelo Ricardiano [Specialization, technology and growth in the Ricardian model]," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 16(3), pages 483-506, September.
  14. Nikolaos Kapitsinis & Theodore Metaxas, 2012. "Territorial Competition: Theories, arguments, policies and lessons of the last 25 years," ERSA conference papers ersa12p947, European Regional Science Association.
  15. Erik S. Reinert & Vemund Riiser, . "Recent trends in economic theory - implications for development geography," STEP Report series 199412, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  16. Erik S. Reinert, . "A Schumpeterian theory of underdevelopment - a contradiction in terms?," STEP Report series 199415, The STEP Group, Studies in technology, innovation and economic policy.
  17. Chris Freeman, 2003. "A Schumpeterian Renaissance?," SPRU Working Paper Series 102, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  18. Maroto-Sánchez, Andrés & Cuadrado-Roura, Juan R., 2009. "Is growth of services an obstacle to productivity growth? A comparative analysis," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 254-265, December.
  19. Andrés Maroto-Sanchez, 2010. "Growth and productivity in the service sector: The state of the art," Working Papers 07/10, Instituto Universitario de Análisis Económico y Social.
  20. KAPITSINIS, Nikolaos & METAXAS, Theodore & DUQUENNE, Marie Noelle, 2013. "Exploring The Coherence And The Meaning Of Territorial Competition: Do National States Behave In The Same Way As Firms In Case Of Default?. The Cases Of Greece And Dubai," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 13(2), pages 57-72.

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