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Knowledge as a Global Common and the Crisis of the Learning Economy

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  • Ugo Pagano

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Abstract

This paper analyzes two interrelated problems characterizing a learning society. On the one hand, there is a tension between the non-rival nature of knowledge and its private appropriation. On the other hand, there is an institutional mismatch between the global public good nature of knowledge and the fragmentation of political power among different nations. We will argue that these two contradictions are a fundamental cause of economic stagnation and of inequality. The excessive monopolization of knowledge decreases the rate of growth but, at the same time, it increases the share of profits and shareholders’ wealth. The discounted rents of privatized knowledge are a clear example of what Joe Stiglitz has aptly named capitaldestructive wealth. Whereas the wealth (of few) increases, knowledge-capital decreases because its available uses are dramatically restricted.

Suggested Citation

  • Ugo Pagano, 2016. "Knowledge as a Global Common and the Crisis of the Learning Economy," Department of Economics University of Siena 743, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:743
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Williamson, Oliver E, 1988. " Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 567-591, July.
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    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Part I. The Wealth Residual," NBER Working Papers 21189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Part IV: Land and Credit," NBER Working Papers 21192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ugo Pagano & Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2009. "The crash of the knowledge economy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 665-683, July.
    6. Robert Rowthorn, 2014. "A note on Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(5), pages 1275-1284.
    7. Barth, Erling & Bryson, Alex & Davis, James C. & Freeman, Richard, 2014. "It’s where you work: increases in earnings dispersion across establishments and individuals in the US," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60604, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Aoki, Masahiko, 2010. "Corporations in Evolving Diversity: Cognition, Governance, and Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199218530.
    9. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1996. "Technical Information and Industrial Structure," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 645-652.
    10. Ugo Pagano, 2014. "The crisis of intellectual monopoly capitalism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(6), pages 1409-1429.
    11. George Soros, 2013. "Fallibility, reflexivity, and the human uncertainty principle," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 309-329, December.
    12. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    13. Filippo Belloc & Ugo Pagano, 2012. "Knowledge Enclosures, Forced Specializations and Investment Crisis," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 9(3), pages 445-483, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights

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