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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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Abstract

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.