THE NEW KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY AND SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
For the past few hundred years, many books and articles have begun with a phrase such as: “We are entering a period of rapid change unimagined by our ancestors”. The statement is both as true and as false now as it has been over the previous two centuries. It is true because we are as a society adjusting to a whole new communication medium (the Internet) and new ways of storing, manipulating and presenting information. We are, as Manuel Castells and others remind us, now in many ways an information economy, with many people tied to computers one way or another during our working day and in our leisure hours. It is false because we are faced with the same old problems – getting food, shelter and water to our human population; living in some kind of equilibrium with nature – as ever we were. How is the new knowledge economy impacting and potentially can impact science and technology policy concerned with sustainable life?