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Knowledge is an example of a public good. Analyse this statement, drawing on further research to inform your argument - Essay Example

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Knowledge as a Public Good This paper discusses the extent to which knowledge can be regarded as a public good. Arguments supporting as well as challenging this view are discussed in the following sections. Some of the implications and challenges of creating a knowledge economy based on knowledge as a public good are identified…
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Knowledge is an example of a public good. Analyse this statement, drawing on further research to inform your argument
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Download file to see previous pages These include non-rivalry and non-excludability. Suber (2009) describes that knowledge is non-rivalrous in the sense that its sharing among several people does not deplete its stock. This characteristic of knowledge is shared by other public goods such as air and sunshine. The second feature of knowledge is non-excludabilty. Once knowledge has been created, it is extremely difficult or impossible to limit people from accessing it as long as they have the resources and mental capacity to access it. At the same time, Suber (2009) also distinguishes between knowledge and its forms of expression. According to his argument, knowledge is a public good while its expression in the form of books and journal articles is not. Anderson (2006) argues that knowledge should be considered primarily as a “public good” while its position as a private asset should be secondary. This reflects the diverse opinions that regard knowledge as an economic asset as well as a social good. Anderson (2006) describes four different views of knowledge along a continuum of private and public good. He describes that in the United Kingdom, knowledge is first regarded as a private asset and then as a public good. He argues that the perception should be reversed and British society should view knowledge first as a public good and then as a private asset. ...
Haskel (n.a.) discusses the importance of knowledge as a public good from a European perspective. He argues that in making knowledge a public good, states should not seek to act monopolistically themselves. While the state should check inefficiencies such as under-provision of knowledge, it should not seek to subsidize knowledge that is not being withheld by such barriers. At the same time, the state should avoid creating inefficiencies that might be created if it retains sole control over the dissemination of knowledge. Competition and the private sector should be given space to operate as long as inefficiencies are not created. Haskel (n.a.) also argues that public sector involvement in knowledge creation encourage the private sector rather than discouraging it. The tax credits awarded to companies investing in R&D can be allocated more efficiently if investment in areas such as design, marketing, and training are also considered. Stiglitz (1999) views knowledge not only as a public good, but as a global public good that should be accessible to all people who can benefit from it. Particularly, in the domain of science and technology, the knowledge is less likely to be geographically-dependent; hence, it has global applications and should be available globally. Stiglitz (1999) discusses some of the constraints that limit the global accessibility of knowledge. Recognizing corporate interests in protecting essential knowledge such as product formulations or technology design, Stiglitz (1999) proposes that the state can invest in research so that economic efficiencies can be achieved. Stiglitz (1999) criticizes the use of patents and other means of enabling firms to recoup their research and development costs. These act as taxes for the consumer and create economic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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