Overview from a business perspective on the knowledge economy
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Paper presented at the Stellenbosch University Library 2010 Symposium / IFLA Presidential Meeting. Knowing is not enough: Engaging in the knowledge economy, 18 to 19 February 2010. In providing an overview, from a business perspective, on the knowledge economy, this paper attempts to elucidate knowledge as the centre of economic growth and development by comparing developed and developing countries, as a phenomenon, with one another. In doing so, it critically analysis the role played and contribution made by knowledge in each scenario. The paper focuses on the phenomenon of the lack of skills, which in effect translates into a lack of “know how” – knowledge and information. It compares the notion of planning to develop regions throughout the African continent, with the stark reality of how a lack of knowledge dampers economic growth and prosperity and leads to failure of these plans. The paper also, in this respect, touches on the effect that a lack of knowledge and information has on the confidence of the business community. The business community translates a lack of knowledge into a lack of ability to do, hence a reduction in local labour uptake in many African countries, and a subsequent increase in expatriate labour for purposes of mitigating business risk against investments made. Although not the key focus of this paper, it does reflect on the ongoing debate of whether knowledge should be viewed and applied as a product of, or as a tool for, economic development. In doing this, it positions knowledge relative to the traditional four key economical aspects, which contributes to economic growth, being capital, labour, land and entrepreneurship. It further more draws a comparison between global economic growth and the human population’s ability to feed this growth in order to progress from a position of crime to stability in the economic scale of balancing supply and demand.