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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 2: The challenges and the potential of the knowledge-based economy in a globalised world

A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion

Luc Soete


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 and variety in telecom services being offered has been so strong that at...

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