The Competitiveness of Nations in a Global Knowledge-Based Economy

D - Significance      

The thesis has significance for all three knowledge domains – the Arts, the Humanities & Social Sciences, the Natural & Engineering Sciences - and for the public and private sectors.

1. The Arts

In the English-speaking world the Arts have generally been considered ‘frills’ with little if any economic value and playing no role in the competitiveness of nations.  As noted by John Kenneth Galbraith, however, the Arts have played a critical role in the economic success of Italy (Galbraith 1983).  Similarly, Tibor Scitovsky has noted the role that the Arts play in the huge U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world, specifically most ‘top end’ consumer goods are imported from Europe and Asia (Scitovsky 1975).  The candidate’s work on the Input/Output matrix for the U.S. economy confirmed Scitovsky’s observations (Chartrand 1993).

In this regard we tend to forget that the word ‘technology’ derives from the ancient Greek techne meaning 'art' and logos meaning 'reason', that is, reasoned art. We have similarly forgotten that kosmos in ancient Greek meant the right ordering of the multiple things of the world; not an abstract, impersonal universe out there where no one has gone before.  This right ordering is beauty - the comely coming together of parts.  And the means by which the right ordering is brought about is Art.  The only English word retaining this original Greek sense is cosmetic, a gift of the Goddess Aphrodite.  The success of the Greeks in attaining aesthetic order is a living legacy of the ancient world, and to the Greeks, beauty had a moral imperative - kalon kagathon - the beautiful and the good (Hillman 1981).  For the Arts, the thesis will have significance in documenting their generic contribution to the competitiveness of nations in a global knowledge-based economy, an economy in which style and taste varies between nations and cultures and plays an increasingly important economic role. 

2.  The Humanities & Social Sciences

For the Humanities & Social Sciences, in general, the thesis will have significance in documenting their generic contribution to the competitiveness of nations in a global knowledge-based economy. From philosophy (epistemology) to religion to law and language studies to management science, HSS will be shown to play a critical role in development and innovation of physical technology emerging from the Natural & Engineering Sciences in different countries and cultures.

For economics, in particular, the thesis will re-introduce the cultural matrix into the discipline (Boulding 1972). In a global knowledge-based economy consideration of cultural factors will be increasingly important if the discipline is to advance. The need to do so has, in effect, been recognized by both the American Economics Association and Journal of Economic Literature when, in the mid-1990s, they recognized cultural economics as a formal sub-discipline.  For the American Economics Association, cultural economics falls under the heading:


Z000 - Other Special Topics: General

Z100 - Cultural Economics: General Z120 - Religion

Z110 - Economics of the Arts 

Z130 - Social Norms and Social Capital; Economic Anthropology

For the Journal of Economic Literature, cultural economics falls under:

Z - Other Special Topics

Z00 - General Z11 - Economics of the Arts

Z1 - Cultural Economics Z12 - Religion

Z10 - General 

Z13 - Social Norms and Social Capital

3. The Natural & Engineering Sciences

For the Natural & Engineering Sciences, the thesis will have significance in highlighting the cultural constraints under which the advancement of NES knowledge suffers in different countries and cultures.

4. The Public Sector

For public policy, the thesis will have significance in identifying sectors of the economy in which advancement in the different knowledge domains can be expected to contribute to or inhibit innovation of new physical technologies and contribute to overall economic growth and development.

5. The Private Sector

For private sector policy, the thesis will have significance in identify foreign and domestic markets in which new knowledge from the different domains can be expected to generate profits with more or less resistance to product and/or process innovation as well as appropriate marketing and advertising strategies.


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