Economic Fundamentals Of the Knowledge Society
This article provides an introduction to fundamental issues in the development of new knowledge-based economies. After placing their emergence in historical perspective and proposing a theoretical framework that distinguishes knowledge from information, the authors characterize the specific nature of such economies. They go on to deal with some of the major issues concerning the new skills and abilities required for integration into the knowledge-based economy; the new geography that is taking shape (where physical distance ceases to be such an influential constraint); the conditions governing access to both information and knowledge, not least for developing countries; the uneven development of scientific, technological (including organizational) knowledge across different sectors of activity; problems concerning intellectual property rights and the privatization of knowledge; and the issues of trust, memory and the fragmentation of knowledge. This monograph is concerned with the nature of the process of macroeconomic growth that has characterized the U. S. experience, and manifested itself in the changing pace and sources of the continuing rise real output per capita over the course of the past two hundred years. A key observation that emerges from the long-term quantitative economic record is that the proximate sources of increases in real GDP per head in the century between 1889 and 1999 were quite different from those which obtained during the first hundred years of American national experience. Baldly put, the economy's ascent to a position of twentieth century global industrial leadership entailed a transition from growth based upon the interdependent development and extensive exploitation of its natural resources and the substitution of tangible capital for labor, towards a the maintenance of an productivity leadership through rising rates of intangible investment in the formation and exploitation of technological and organizational knowledge.
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