HOW THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY IS COSTING US AN INDUSTRIAL AGE
How excited I was when I heard my entrepreneurship professor mention that man has gradually moved away from heavy equipment, manufacturing and activities that require the use of physical strength, to what is now known as a knowledge economy. He started out his lecture by saying “Idea is business.” My excitement came from the fact that I was making strides in my newfound love of writing and creating blog posts that have never been read by anyone.
It is always a good feeling to know people are reading your intellectual creation and also giving positive feedback.
The time before this century was regarded as the industrial age where heavy equipment and manufacturing was the mainstay of many economies. The nations were tapping into the inventions of scientists and inventors to build roads, bridges, and many infrastructures we see today. Their works involved knowledge application but less emphasis was laid on data, storage and processing them but today we have data storage, analyses, sharing, applications, and over time they can be updated to meet up with present-day challenges.
The knowledge economy is light in nature because data and knowledge can be stored in small storage devices in their thousands and conveniently carried about. Meanwhile, the industrial age was raw, heavy and complicated. It will be worthy to note that these two eras are related and this will form the basis for my argument and assertion.
What are the elements or features of a knowledge economy?
The elements of a knowledge economy were created from the research works that were discovered and implemented in the industrial age and these can include;
Computer hardware equipment
Technical drawing equipment
Others that require technical know-how to operate especially in the field can include;
The elements that drive the knowledge economy of today are enormous and can be found in many African economies like Nigeria, not developed by us but mostly imported from developed countries. You can see this in the fashion industry where we now design and make our own clothing; thanks to African designers, but the bad news is that the sewing machines, printers and all others are not produced in our economies.
Nigeria and other African nations skipped the opportunity to develop our homemade industries rather we focused more on exported raw materials and natural resources without making efforts to explore them. Some say we experience a brain drain while the colonialists were around, what happened after they left? Didn’t we have some of our people going abroad to study, sponsored by the government or their kinsmen? Why didn’t we learn the skills and know-how of production and industrialization, rather all we did was learn the bureaucracies of politics and how to use it for personal gains and thievery.
These have gone on for far too long and in recent times it has been proved that those who explore raw materials for end-products sake are the winners. They are there to serve those who can’t produce and make them feel that they are now in a knowledge economy where things are done differently. Oil is crashing and Nigeria is wailing but if we were involved in petrochemicals and other end products of oil, we won’t have a need to complain because we would have products that will continue to sell.
The situation is quite unfortunate because no one and I mean no one will be concerned about investing in research work to produce the elements that now drive these knowledge economies. We have iron ore, columbite, tin and a lot more but we prefer to keep importing what others have done and made easy for us. The wealthy or those that have oil blocks to their names rather continue importation than sponsoring research to explore the Nigerian crude and what it can offer at its most finished state.
In every ecosystem there are producers and consumers, givers and takers, lenders and borrowers; in all these one is master over the other. The economic system of the world has been structured in such a way that some are producing what they need and also feeding it to other nations who can’t (that is justifiable) or won’t produce despite an abundance of resources.
As much as we admire this knowledge economy, it is better we drive it by ourselves, with our products because we have the potentials to and the capacity can be built if we are ready. That might be the only way for our currency to survive in a highly competitive market.
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