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The knowledge economy, skills and government Labour market intervention

Warhurst, C. (2008) The knowledge economy, skills and government Labour market intervention. Policy Studies, 29 (1). pp. 71-86. ISSN 0144-2872

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The development of the knowledge economy is common policy across all levels of government across the advanced economies. This article recognises the weaknesses inherent in this policy but, based on a critical analysis of the skill needs and skill formation of this economy, it outlines how, if such a policy is to be pursued, it might be better achieved. It first argues that government policy has become centred on an orthodoxy featuring a particular set of 'thinking skills' formed through the institutions of higher education - universities. This approach results in an exclusive knowledge economy and is, in effect, creating an over-supply of graduates. The article then outlines other, more inclusive accounts of the knowledge economy that recognise the need for a broader range of skills and which direct government policy towards intervention in the labour market through other institutions through which these skills might be formed - the family and trade unions.