Modern economies can be characterised as learning economies in which knowledge is the crucial resource and learning is the most important process. Different kinds of learning and economically relevant types of knowledge can likewise be identified. It is argued that pure market economies, if such existed, would have severe problems in terms of learning and innovation. The 'learning economy' is a mixed economy in a fundamental sense.
In the public debate, knowledge is increasingly presented as the crucial factor in the development of both society and the economy. In a growing number of publications from the European Commission and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development it is emphasised that we currently operate in ‘a knowledge-based economy’. For several reasons many prefer the term ‘the learning economy’ in characterising the current phase of socio-economic development.
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