Knowledge the Currency of Change

It started a long time ago

Growing crops and breeding animals to feed the community used to be the main largest activity in all economies, and labour-intensive. Today, even with the growth of farmers’ markets and urban gardening only a tiny percentage of the workforce in most economies is required to feed the community because of knowledge in farming, distribution and nutrition.

With stories of successes

The first farmers soon learned from hearing and telling success stories which grains produced the most bountiful harvests. And so began our long march towards what is now the knowledge economy where half our economic value is generated from products created from knowledge rather than products created from physical things using knowledge tools rather than mechanical tools.

Half the economy is about knowledge

Back in 2000, then Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, quoted Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research showing that knowledge-based industries contributed 48 per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), behind Canada at 51 per cent and ahead of Korea at 40 per cent. A year later, the Department of Innovation Industry Science and Research published that “knowledge workers” represented around 38 percent of the labour force.

The knowledge economy in various guises has been emerging for thousands of years, accelerating as the technology to replicate, store and exchange knowledge grew. From Gutenberg’s printing press to radio, film, television and now the internet, technology has reused the intelligence of earlier generations. With this valuable exchange, the knowledge economy was born.

Will this help recovering from the GFC

Will rapid access to the intelligence of earlier generations make for a speedier recovery this time around? What will be the impact of people being so well connected around the globe? With email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter providing immediate contact between thousdands and even millions of people will confidence recover more quickly or will each phase of growing confidence be constantly broken?