A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion
Edited by Maria João Rodrigues
Chapter 2: The challenges and the potential of the knowledge-based economy in a globalised world
2. The challenges and the potential of the knowledge-based economy in a globalised world Luc Soete INTRODUCTION The Portuguese presidency of the EU came at a crucial time. The ﬁrst six months of 2000, the last year of the second millennium, represented to some extent an ideal moment to take stock of where Europe had been heading since the economic integration process had been set in motion after the massive devastations of the Second World War, and, in particular, how Europe had adjusted to the major, world-wide structural transformations. The last decade of the twentieth century has been a period of major structural transformations world wide, but also quite explicitly in Europe. At the beginning of the decade, one witnessed the albeit sudden collapse of the former communist East European countries and their rapid opening up to market-led economic incentives, with as the most extreme case the economic and political integration of East Germany with West Germany and the European Union (EU). A year later, the ﬁfteen EU member countries formally entered the European Single Market: a process of economic integration still incomplete today in many, nonmanufacturing utilities and service sectors but having nevertheless brought about a gradual opening-up of many, traditionally closed, domestic markets. Less precise in timing but again, once initiated, progressing at an accelerating rate, ﬁnancial markets underwent during the nineties a dramatic, world-wide deregulation. Independent domestic monetary policy became something of the past. More recently, the European telecommunications sector became deregulated and liberalised. The resulting growth...
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