Swinging the KBE into action

There's no room for doubters, we need to push hard for the knowledge-based economy

There's no room for doubters, we need to push hard for the knowledge-based economy We’re in the the home straight in bringing you our special issue of Computerworld dedicated to the knowledge-based economy. In the process it’s become apparent that there’re a lot of genuine patriotic Kiwis who want to see our country succeed and take its rightful place in the knowledge-driven millennium. There are also people out there who think the knowledge-based economy is a load of bull. Frankly, we don’t have time to argue about it. There are enough reports now pointing out the country’s deficiencies. The issue is not whether New Zealand needs to change and utilise its brains and technological aptitude better, but rather the best way to go about it. In our special KBE issue next week we will set the framework for a thorough understanding of what the knowledge-based economy is about. We will explore what it already means, or will mean to our many industries and individuals, and consider what will need to be done to swing it into action. There’s still plenty of room within the debate as to the government’s versus the individual’s role. As in all aspects of community life there is the right and the left, representing those that want to get out of the way and let things happen and those that want to take control and force an outcome. Occasionally I just want to take people from these two conflicting groups, put them in a huge vice and squeeze them together until they become inseparably one. We need the vision of those that would take control with the self-restraint of those who would not. We need to push hard for the knowledge-based economy for the inspiration that it can be, the direction it can give us and the respect for intelligence that it will leave us with. And we need to be careful. We don’t want to clumsily lock in any sort of economic incentives or specific skills training programmes that will create their own problems in future years. Global changes are accelerating and we need the flexibility that only a fully functioning market economy can provide. You’re going to have to let me stop here, because we’ve got a whole lot more coming and I don’t want to pre-empt it — news, analysis and, as you might expect, plenty of comment. If you have any last-minute points on any aspect of the knowledge-based economy that you want to share with all Computerworld readers, you need to email myself, or our reporter Paul Brislen, right now. Richard Wood is editor of Computerworld. Phone him at 0-9-377 9902. Send comments about this article to cw_letters@idg.co.nz richard_wood@idg.co.nz

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