“Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge” – this is now the new litany and policy rhetoric championed by governments and businesses around the globe. As nations ascend their development trajectory, national economies tend to shift from agriculture to manufacturing and ultimately services ( the New Economy) that thrives on high-skills/high value-added methods of production. Unlike previous economic orders, the New Economy is one where forces of economic globalization (i.e. technological innovations, deregulation, changing consumption patterns) have collapsed all boundaries between national economies. To have a competitive edge in the New Economy, the differentiating factors are knowledge, creativity and innovation. Thus, knowledge has been identified as the new factor of production to determine a nation’s economic prosperity in today’s globalised world. To this end, governments have invested substantially in knowledge acquisition with expectations of producing the relevant skills and entrepreneurial spirit to meet ever changing industry needs. This is in line with human capital theories that suggest larger investments in education will result in higher skills contents which later translate into greater individual wealth accumulation and ultimately a more competitive national economy. Undeniably, the government’s intervention in knowledge acquisition is commendable. However, is such intervention by the government sustainable in the long run? Should other investors such as business, university and the civil society, be involved and be stakeholders in a knowledge society? Such concerns warrant immediate attention especially with neo-liberal reforms permeating into the political institutional framework of most developing economies. As neo-liberal reforms come to the fore, the shift to the private sector as the engine of economic growth will obviously rework the social dynamics of knowledge acquisition amongst the stakeholders. This paper identifies a ‘tripartite collaboration’ as the new form of social understanding towards sustainable knowledge acquisition. Specifically, this paper illustrates the case of Malaysia’s backbone of the economy – the banking sector.
|Keywords:||Knowledge, Knowledge Society, New Economy, Education and Training, Social Understandings, Neo-Liberalism, Malaysia, Banking Sector|
Lecturer, Planning and Development Management, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
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