Introduction: Europe and the Learning Economy

Bengt‐Åke Lundvall and Daniele Archibugi

in The Globalizing Learning Economy

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199258178
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191595868 | DOI:
 Introduction: Europe and the Learning Economy

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The emphasis in this book is on the ‘learning economy’ rather than the ‘knowledge‐based economy’ (as for example stressed by OECD), since the key to modern success is not so much as to have access to a stock of specialized knowledge, as to be able to learn rapidly and then forget when older ways of doing things get in the way of newer ways. It is argued that in Europe, the learning economy calls for new institutional set ups and new policies at the level of both the nation state and the European Union. The focus of the book is on how innovation policy needs to be designed in the new context. Some of the crucial aspects of the globalizing learning economy are illustrated by a simple model in which transformation pressure is linked to the ability to innovate and change, and to the cost and benefits of the change and their social and spatial distribution (which have become more uneven in the last decade). Since innovation is strongly related to competence building at the firm level, a second model is presented to illustrate the three sources that firms may draw on when building and renewing their competence (hiring and firing, internal competence building, networking and alliances); the building of a learning organization within the firm and its integration with strategies of internal competence building is then discussed, as is the role of trade unions.

Keywords: change; competence building; economic policy; Europe; firms; innovation; innovation policy; knowledge; learning; learning economy; learning organization; models; trade unions

Chapter.  7179 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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