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The New Knowledge Economy in Europe

A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion

Edited by Maria João Rodrigues

Knowledge is fast becoming one of the main sources of wealth, yet it can also become a source of inequalities. The New Knowledge Economy in Europe attempts to determine whether it is possible to hasten the transition towards a knowledge-based economy and enhance competitiveness with increased employment and improved social cohesion across Europe. The book is an amalgamation of the scientific and political agendas which led to the European strategy for the knowledge-based economy adopted by the European Union.
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Chapter 4: Knowledge-based economies: the European employment debate in a new context

A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion

Robert M. Lindley


Robert M. Lindley INTRODUCTION Knowledge is the basis of much behaviour: the search for and exploitation of it have been at the heart of social and economic development for centuries. Yet there are now claims that radical changes are afoot which will greatly increase the significance of and alter the pattern of knowledge production, dissemination and use. Countries and organisations that understand this and adapt to take advantage of the enormous opportunities in prospect will, it is argued, place themselves in strong positions to compete effectively in the global economy. ‘Knowledge workers’ will emerge as the dominant occupational group with high levels of education, continuing professional development and autonomy. They will be the first to connect to the evolving global community – many already are. Social exclusion occurs when a society fails to organise itself to ensure that all its members can participate. Those excluded suffer from a cumulative disadvantage which goes well beyond their individual characteristics and experience and extends to the local communities in which they live. There are personal, family and wider collective ingredients to the process of their exclusion. They will be the last to ‘get connected’ electronically as well as socially. Knowledge workers and the socially excluded seem destined to live in different worlds. But where will the rest of the population who fall into neither group live and work? What are the mechanisms by which the knowledge-based scenario might be moulded to meet social as well as economic objectives? How distinctively...

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