Global knowledge economies
Building on our groundbreaking research on the future of the knowledge economy, The Work Foundation is establishing a new programme focusing on what could help to drive growth in the global economy.
The global economy has changed much faster than our understanding of how to manage and support it. Thirty years of globalisation and enabling technological developments have transformed our consumption patterns, the way we work, how companies compete and how parts of the economy connect. The global division of labour has shifted. For millions, low-wage manufacturing has replaced traditional agriculture and primary industries. At the same time, many traditional manufacturing locations have developed into knowledge economy hotspots, creating value from innovation, brands, design and other intangible assets. Linear value chains have become complex systems based on truly global knowledge networks. Increasing complexity means that traditional policies and responses are poorly suited to dealing with the major challenges that the global economy faces today.
In the wake of the global recession there are signs that many places are reconsidering their role. But, from a global perspective, too many nations are at the same time trying to pursue strategies based on export-based growth for all to succeed. Global economic growth and improving living standards can only be secured through the development of knowledge-intensive activities.
The complex links between locations means that the global knowledge economy cannot be fully understood independently by nations. Instead, the global knowledge economies programme will build a vision for sustainable and complementary growth and identify what national governments, cities and private organisations can and should do to support this vision in different locations.
This research will aim to answer these questions:
- What action could kick-start struggling OECD economies?
- Where should development activities for different non-OECD nations focus?
- Where should wealthy Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states focus their investment to secure sustainable growth?
- Where should companies look for new knowledge economy locations?
- Are global value chains and the international division of labour shifting again?
- Should advanced economies see the rise knowledge-intensive activities in locations such as India and China as a threat?
- Is the economic advantage of OECD nations being eroded? Will the 2010s see the rise of new forms of productive knowledge networks?