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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

high tech hubs « Previous | |Next »
May 9, 2003

The environmental philosopher at has raised the issue of the knowledge economy in his rambling wilderness holiday reflections. In the late 20th century Adelaide tried to launch itself as Australia's technological centre by creating a multifunction polis (MFP). The state under the then Bannon Labor Government attempted to create a urban complex to provide the infrastructure to attract hi-tech industry. It had some vague gesture to sustainability.

The attempt to create a high-tech hub failed. Some history is provided hereIt was not one of SA's glorious moments.

The bureaucratic policy makers concentrated on investing in buildings not people. They had some sense of the importance of science and technology shaping the future and the need to shift away from the traditional reliance on exploiting natural resources. But they had little understanding of education, the links between research, venture capital and the commercialisation of technology. It was all a bit cargo cultish. Then the State Bank crashed and that was that.

No genuine effort was made by the Brown/Olsen Liberal Government to build up the science base, an educated work force, or the local knowledge-based industries other than through the privatisation of public IT, water and electricity utilities. The big corporate multinationals would enable SA to buy a place in the new knowledge economy. Another example of a cargo cult mentality.

And the Rann Government? It is still haunted by the State Bank disaster and reckons that the task of shifting to the knowledge-economy is best left to business. It lacks political courage. Small government, balanced budgets, onggoing cuts to public spending and public relation gestures to sustainability are its ethos. The knowledge-economy is not in the forefront of public policy of the state nor in its planning for economic development. It relies on policy advice from the Economic Development Board whose focus is on an export strategy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:22 AM | | Comments (0)