Building or eroding intellectual capital? Student consumerism as a cultural force in the context of knowledge economy

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Public rationales for a wide variety of government interventions in higher education have been linked to the integration of national economies and other political and cultural changes associated with globalisation and the emergence of the knowledge-driven economy. This new economy signals a trend away from material production and manual work in developed countries. Instead, the state's ability to compete successfully in the global context is now seen to rely on the production of higher value-added products and services, which are in turn dependent on knowledge, especially scientific and technological knowledge, and on continuos innovation (see for example, Castells 2001). Notwithstanding the cautionary caveats raised in relation to the direct links made by policy makers between the upgrading of skills and economic prosperity, intellectual capital continues to be portrayed in government policy as one of the most important determiners of economic success and as a crucial resource in the scramble for global profits. In this context of knowledgedriven capitalism, higher education has been positioned as a major and indispensable contributor to the transition to a high skills economy and one of the main institutional sites for the production, dissemination and transfer of knowledge, innovation and technology. The perceived relationship between higher education and national economic advantage has led to increased government attempts to develop policy frameworks to regulate and harness higher education more directly to national skills formation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Perspectives on Higher Education
EditorsJ. Valimaa, O-H. Ylijoki
Place of PublicationDordrecht, Germany
ISBN (Electronic)9781402066047
ISBN (Print)9781402066030
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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