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Edited by David Rooney, Greg Hearn and Abraham Ninan
Chapter 6: Knowledge and Social Capital
6 Knowledge and social capital Hitendra Pillay Knowledge has always been at the core of economic development and social progress; however, in recent times there has been substantial interest and acknowledgement that the capacity to produce and use knowledge has much more explanatory value in understanding levels of economic (and social) welfare or rates of growth (Foray and Hargreaves 2002). However, much of the recent debate and thinking around knowledge has centred on knowledge management and has situated knowledge in the business and management disciplines with a focus on private sector enterprises. Enterprises whose practices are embedded in ‘capitalist’ values – maximizing monetary value of their investments which are usually achieved through exploitation of human, physical and/or social resources. The primary responsibility of management in these enterprises is to the owners of the business and shareholders rather than the ‘public interest’. As a consequence the lexicon of knowledge discourse and thinking is, not surprisingly, skewed towards business and maximizing return for the financial investors. However, a knowledge-based society should be about more than business efficiency and acquisition of wealth. It should have the capacity to regulate investment and growth for both economic and socio-cultural development, and private and public sector enterprises. Discourses such as those associated with the knowledge society and knowledge ecology imply more than the commercial enterprise – they are about a society in which commercial enterprise is but one aspect. The interrelatedness of economic performance and social and cultural conditions is well demonstrated in Knack and Keefer’s (1977) study,...
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