Foundations, State of the Art, Future
Edited by Roel Rutten and Frans Boekema
Chapter 5: The Learning Region: Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal
5. The learning region: institutions, innovation and regional renewal Kevin Morgan INTRODUCTION As we prepare to enter a new millennium the classical paradigms of social and economic development seem to have exhausted themselves. The paradigms of the Left, ranging from neo-Keynesian to Marxist, are impaired by an exaggerated and naive faith in the capacity of the state. Less credible still is the neo-liberal paradigm of the Right, whose adherents are unable or unwilling to recognize the shortcomings of the market as a mechanism for promoting economic development and social welfare. For all their diﬀerences the classical paradigms are aﬄicted by dualisms – state versus market, public versus private, etc. – which need to be transcended rather than aﬃrmed in a one-sided fashion. In contrast, some of the more eclectic ‘third wave’ conceptions of development consciously try to eschew such binary thinking so as to open up to inquiry regional processes and intermediate institutions that were marginalized by the inordinate attention devoted to ‘state’ and ‘market’. Over the past few years in particular we have witnessed the spread of a new paradigm, variously referred to as the network or associational paradigm. Whatever the shortcomings of this new paradigm, it is clearly fuelled by the pervasive belief that ‘markets’ and ‘hierarchies’ do not exhaust the menu of organizational forms for mobilizing resources for innovation and economic development (Illeris and Jakobsen, 1990; Powell, 1990; Camagni, 1991; OECD, 1992; Lundvall, 1992; Cooke and Morgan, 1993; Grabher, 1993; Sabel, 1994; Storper, 1995; Amin and...
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