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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 Seven: Three Forms of Knowledge Economy: Learning, Creativity and Openness


Chapter 7

Three Forms of the Knowledge Economy

It is important to distinguish a number of different strands and readings of the knowledge economy and important to do so because it provides a history of a policy idea and charts its ideological interpretations.1 The different strands of this discourse are radically diverse and include attempts to theorise not only knowledge economy but also the parallel term ‘knowledge society’, and also the attempts to relate these terms to wider and broader changes in the nature of capitalism, modernity and the global economy. Early attempts by Friedrich von Hayek (1937, 1945) to define the relations between economics and knowledge were followed by the economic value of knowledge studies of the production and distribution of knowledge in the USA by Fritz Machlup (1962). Both of these scholars were associated with the Austrian school of economics. Gary Becker (1964) a prominent member of the Chicago School analysed human capital with reference to education while Peter Drucker (1969), the management theorist, developed an emphasis on ‘knowledge workers’ coining the term in 1959 and founding the field of ‘knowledge management’. In a different vein, Daniel Bell’s (1973) sociology of postindustrialism emphasised the centrality of theoretical knowledge and the new science-based industries and Alain Touraine’s (1971) The Post-industrial Society hypothesised students as a new social movement and predicted the ‘programmed society’.

In the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s there were various attempts by theorists from different disciplines to theorise aspects of the...

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