The Messiah of Knowledge is Not Leading to the Promised Land.
Knowledge is cheap and the Knowledge Economy in the Information Age is not working. When should we panic? It's all very well getting caught up in the euphoria of exciting new ways to communicate with each other but how are Twitter, Facebook and Google generating new world wealth except for a few shareholders?
If indeed we are in a great economic revival driven by this so called Knowledge Economy, just what is going on? Where is the hard evidence? Is the world economy thriving in this new information age?
A glance at world economic indicators shows that Denmark leads the world at the top of the World Bank's Knowledge Economy index with the UK ranked 7th and the USA at 9th. 20th is Japan and one of my favourite countries, Slovenia, ranks a creditable 25th, above Italy at 30th. China is surprisingly ranked 89th and India 109th, behind Vietnam at 100th. Sierra Leone is last at 145th.
The rest don't make it onto the list at all. We are told that the Information Age is the one in which we now live and are warmly comforted during these current hard times by the idea that this new and exciting concept of The Knowledge Economy, a phrase attributed to Peter Drucker (it was the title of chapter twelve of a book published in 1995) is the messiah that will lead the world out of recession and into the promised land of economic recovery.
There can be no doubt that we've moved firmly into the Information Age and it's logical to think that a Knowledge-Based Economy is a natural progression from this but what does this mean, exactly? We now have more knowledge than was ever dreamed possible...and its cheap. So cheap, in fact that it's even cheaper than a previously well known maximum ROI commodity, Sand.
Sand, as we all know, is where silicon chips come from and we have an arguably limitless supply of the stuff. The way wealth has been created from this incredibly cheap commodity has been not simply by taking it and somehow magically waving a wand to convert it into chip technology but by using our brains to think about how it can be developed and utilised to create entirely new whizzy things like computers, mobile phones and all the electronic gadgetry that makes up our modern world. Like sand, knowledge is now very, very cheap. It's accessible by billions of us but, unlike sand, we don't even have to pay the shipping cost and we don't even have to have the massive investment in research, plant and equipment essential for chip technology.
But we do have to convert this plethora of knowledge into stuff that will add value in the same way that sand converts to silicon that converts to electronic consumables. It's all fine and dandy that courtesy of Tim Berners-Lee all this knowledge is freely available and we can communicate it all within a seamless network at almost zero cost, so why is the world economy still in the state it is? We can't surely keep on blaming the banks; well, in the great scheme of things, anyway....
We have this massive amazing unlimited resource, Knowledge. We have the means to distribute it around the world at extremely low cost. Converting it into wealth isn't happening. There must be something missing. What do you think it might be? Can you think what might be missing from the chain?
Can you please bring your thoughts to bear on this knotty problem. If you can get your head round it and pinpoint what's missing, you might just find the answer to ending all our economic woes. Worth thinking about? Phil Shepherd GOOISOFT Customised Software. Blending new technology with your ingenuity.