New Approaches to Economic Challenges

Socially Inclusive Economic Growth and the Futures of the Knowledge Economy

 

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As part of the series of OECD NAEC seminars, Professor Roberto Unger, Roscoe Pound Professor of Law, Harvard University, led a workshop at the OECD, on 5 May 2017, on

Socially Inclusive Economic Growth and the Future of the Knowledge Economy

> Agenda (pdf) 

The Knowledge Economy and the Enigma of its Confinement
  • Conception of the knowledge economy: shallow and deep characteristics
  • The confinement of the knowledge economy to insular vanguards within each sector of the economy. The problem of heterogeneity within sectors between advanced and backward firms
  • Consequences for stagnation and inequality
  • Initial explanation of the enigma
  • Perspectives on the enigma of confinement: lessons of development economics
  • Perspectives on the enigma of confinement: the debate about disruptive innovation: the micro and macro viewpoints
Towards an Inclusive Knowledge Economy
  • Cognitive-educational steps to inclusive vanguardism
  • Social-moral steps to an inclusive vanguardism
  • Legal-institutional steps to an inclusive vanguardism
  • Background social conditions for an inclusive vanguardism
  • Background political conditions for an inclusive vanguardism
  • The knowledge economy
webcast of Roberto Unger

> Watch the webcast of the discussion

> Transcript (pdf) of the discussion on Inclusive Vanguardism: The Alternative Futures of the Knowledge Economy

   
socially inclusive economic growth and the future of the knowledge economy > Watch a video of Roberto Unger discussing Inclusive Vanguardism while at the OECD
   

The Knowledge Economy, Roberto Unger‌ 

> Robero Mangabeira Unger
presents his personal view
on the future of

The Knowledge Economy (pdf),

"This note accompanies the text of The Knowledge Economy, a book to be published within a few months. The OECD and its staff have played an indispensable role in instigating and supporting the development of its ideas. Two day-long meetings held over the last year under the aegis of the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) initiative provided an occasion to explore the topic and the argument with experts from many countries. Empirical research done by OECD researchers in recent years helped make the formulation of this work possible.

Thanks to these and other efforts, the OECD, under the leadership of Secretary-General Gurria and Chief of Staff Ramos, has begun to transform the global debate about socially inclusive economic growth, informing it with institutional and policy content grounded in the lessons of international experience rather than abandoned to the contest of dogmatic ideologies. The NAEC program has opened the way, not just at headquarters in Paris but for many of us who study these problems around the world.

A few words suffice to describe the theme of the book. A new, knowledge-intensive and radically innovative advanced practice of production has emerged in all the major economies of the world. It is most established in the economies of the members of the OECD. It is not limited to high-technology industry, with which it is often mistakenly identified. It exists in every sector of the advanced economies. In each sector, however, it appears as a fringe, excluding the vast majority of firms and workers. The insular character of these vanguards depresses economic growth even as it aggravates economic inequality.

If only we could find ways to develop the knowledge economy in a form that includes a larger proportion of firms and workers, we would have struck a powerful blow in favor of more growth and less inequality. The project of the book is to the analyze the workings and potential of the knowledge economy and to explore the changes -- including changes in education and institutions -- that would allow more people and business to participate in the new most advanced productive practices, to the benefit of a shared prosperity.

It is a concern that speaks to the OECD's central mission and that fails to fit on any familiar spectrum of right and left in politics and policy. Its advancement requires empirical research, theoretical imagination, and magnanimity in the willingness to join conversations that may sometimes be unsettling but that are vital to the futures of our societies." (Roberto Unger, Harvard University)