When we talk about the economy, we often think of the production of goods, mass production, Charlie Chaplin in “Modern Times”, industry. However, the year 2020 has brought to light a part of the economy whose tangibility is rarely grasped: the knowledge economy.
The knowledge economy: definition
Also called the knowledge economy, the economy of the immaterial or cognitive capitalism, the knowledge economy is a concept developed in 1962 by Fritz Machlup, who established in 1977 that 45% of employees in the USA manipulate information. At the end of the 1990s, the OECD estimated that the knowledge economy represented more than 50% of the GDP of the OECD countries. The knowledge economy represents a break with the idea that knowledge belongs to the public domain. From now on, knowledge is a commercial good, as demonstrated by the development of property rights on knowledge and information.
And in practice?
In a European industry where companies have the same overall production capacities, knowledge is a factor of differentiation and competitiveness. In an economy where products are produced in the same factories on the other side of the world (or not), it is the design of these products and the marketing that follows their commercialization that differentiates them.
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