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Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism

Creativity and the Promise of Openness


Michael A. Peters

We live in the age of global science – but not, primarily, in the sense of ‘universal knowledge’ that has characterized the liberal metanarrative of ‘free’ science and the ‘free society’ since its early development in the Enlightenment. Today, an economic logic links science to national economic policy, while globalized multinational science dominates an environment where quality assurance replaces truth as the new regulative ideal. This book examines the nature of educational and science-based capitalism in its cybernetic, knowledge, algorithmic and bioinformational forms before turning to the emergence of the global science system and the promise of openness in the growth of international research collaboration, the development of the global knowledge commons and the rise of the open science economy. Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism explores the nature of cognitive capitalism, the emerging mode of social production for public education and science and its promise for the democratization of knowledge.
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Chapter Three: Greening the Knowledge Economy: Ecosophy, Ecology and Economy


This chapter argues that the most sustainable and ‘productive’ interface in advanced postindustrial societies in the twenty-first century will be that between the knowledge and the ‘green economy’. It charts three forms of the knowledge economy—the ‘creative’, ‘learning’ ‘open science’ economy—each of which profiles education as a central activity and ‘learning processes’ as the source of intellectual energy driving the new educational environment and shaping emergent knowledge ecologies. It discusses the significance of network analysis as a broad methodology that provides the basis in terms of policy for yoking large systems together—ecosophy, ecology and economics and social, ecological, and economic sustainability. Finally, the chapter outlines the concept of ‘greening the knowledge economy’ as a basis for long-term sustainability.

I begin by discussing methodology in environmental educational research by employing an approach from green philosophy (ecosophy) and green political economy to examine some wider conceptual issues concerning learning processes within the ‘knowledge economy.’1 This constitutes ‘wide-canvas research’ with a visionary element that is designed to demonstrate the importance of philosophical research in relation to broad conceptual questions that attempt to look for the connections and integrations among ecosophy, ecology and economy in an approach that highlights education and learning as the central human activities that can enhance sustainability in its ecological, economic and educational forms. It is also an example of linked-up policy analysis (cf. linked-up government) based upon the understanding and integration of large systems. What this age demands more than ever is an understanding...

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