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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 5: Institutional reforms for growth, employment and social cohesion: elements of a European and national agenda

A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion

Robert Boyer


Robert Boyer The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify (. . .) into every corner of our minds. John Maynard Keynes, December 13, 1935. The outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live, are its failure to provide for full-employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes. John Maynard Keynes, General Theory, Chapter 24, 1936. 1. INTRODUCTION: IN RESPONSE TO THE PRESENT DECADE’S CHALLENGES, IT IS TIME TO REFORM The recovery of the EU economy has brought a lot of optimism to European business and consumers. Hasn’t GDP growth gone up from 1.5 per cent during the period 1991–6 to 2.7 per cent during the following years (1997–2000). Is the European sclerosis over, since the national and European institutions are now in line with the requirements of global finance? This chapter proposes a balanced view: many reforms have already been done, but they are quite unequal across the fifteen member states and in any case new challenges are to be met during the coming years. It argues that since the 1990s the Europeans are living a brand new period that deserves careful and new analyses. Thus, most of the items on the political agenda should be re-assessed and probably redesigned according to three major concerns. The turning point of the 1990s has pointed out some recurring weaknesses of Europe. It is now clear that the 1990s exhibited intense and 146 Institutional reforms for growth, employment...

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