Knowledge society

Knowledge society

Broadly speaking, the term Knowledge Society refers to any society where knowledge is the primary production resource instead of capital and labour. It may also refer to the use a certain society gives to information. A Knowledge society "creates, shares and uses knowledge for the prosperity and well-being of its people". [cite web
title = The Digital Strategy: Glossary of Key Terms
accessdate = 2008-05-02


Knowledge societies have the characteristic that knowledge forms a major component of any human activity. Economic, social, cultural, and all other human activities become dependent on a huge volume of knowledge and information. A knowledge society is one in which knowledge becomes a major creative force.

Knowledge societies are not a new occurrence. For example, fishermen have long shared the knowledge of predicting the weather to their community and this knowledge gets added to the social capital of the community.

What is new is that
* With current technologies, knowledge societies need not be constrained by geographic proximity
* Current technology offers much more possibilities for sharing, archiving and retrieving knowledge
* Knowledge has become the most important capital in the present age, and hence the success of any society lies in harnessing it.

Increasing relevance

Knowledge and information are vital components of the formation of any society because every society is formed around some shared concepts. One of the contributions of Globalisation and new ICT is the creation of a global society with a shared knowledge of issues and possibilities.

'Material resources and their processing' - henceforth "E" - have been the basis of economic growth. Music, art, path-breaking thought streams, mixing of cultural attributes of different societies bringing in new cultural attributes, etc. - henceforth "C" - result in cultural development and act as a catalyst in entire social development. Now that the many societies have so matured that almost all the activities involved in E and C rely on existing knowledge base very much. This knowledge is available in written documents, written laws, unwritten laws, people's convictions, people's words in different languages etc. In the same way as the unequal distribution of materials (wealth in generalized term) caused unbalanced and inappropriate development of society to date, imbalances in the knowledge distribution, knowledge availability, knowledge sharing, etc. hinder the economic/cultural/social development of human societies. The knowledge societies first realize the importance of knowledge and also the importance of proper knowledge distribution, sharing and building for social development.


# Knowledge by nature is free
# Knowledge should be free for better benefit of society
# Knowledge should be free for better development and crystallization of knowledge
# Knowledge is inherently political and an exercise in power and control

Examples of societies that can blossom to knowledge societies

People from the same field
* Teachers teaching the same subject.
* Fans of the same musical group
* Artists with similar interests

People from different fields
* Engineers talking to scientists about a scientific issue related to their engineering project
* Researchers of different fields discussing a common research problem
* Artists interested in fractals getting in touch with programmers
* Mystics talking to scientists


A knowledge society needs infrastructure like

# Physical: meeting places, notice boards ...
# Technological: local language content sharing, mailing lists, web portals, wikis, chat rooms, video conferencing, virtual meetings, collaborative development environments, distance education ...

The Free software movement is a success story of knowledge society

The term is frequently used by politicians, policy-makers, journalists and by scientists in the Foresight social studies.


[ Digital Strategy: Glossary of Key Terms]

See also

* information society
* information revolution
* knowledge economy
* intellectual capital
* Knowledge building
* knowledge divide
* meta-knowledge
* Libre Knowledge

External links

* [ UNESCO World Report: Towards knowledge societies (2005)]
* [ Knowledge Society - European Commission Homepage]
* [ EU CORDIS page]
* [ Economic Fundamentals of the Knowledge Society] - Stanford Univ. Economics faculty.



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