By Andre Kraak
Debates approximately strong governance are more and more interested by the coordination failure that happens while numerous businesses are required to behave in live performance with one another, and this monograph seems to be at simply this type of case within the South African government's efforts to "join up" education and paintings to supply a skilled labor force.
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Additional resources for Debating High Skills and Joined-up Policy
In this sense, the idea of integrated or joined-up policy can only be effective if the nature of and the relationships between these foundations are understood: joined-up policy requires joined-up theorising about the basis of skills formation. One of the strengths of this approach, in contrast to human-capital theory, is that it is genuinely interdisciplinary (Ashton 1999) because it is focused on the relationships between different societal elements and the processes to which they give rise. However, while we have already mentioned some of the component elements of skills formation – the VET system and its relationship to the labour market – recent work by Estevez-Abe, Iversen and Soskice (2001) has taken this type of analysis forward in two ways: it has placed the issues of the firm, competitiveness and product markets at the centre of an analysis of the different types of skills that can be produced, and it has shown how different kinds of skill utilisation produce different forms of social protection and inequality in society.
The issue that I have focused on with my colleague Phillip Brown concerns the ahistorical and static nature of the analysis of the knowledge economy. It is assumed by policy-makers that once young people have their paper qualifications then, like angels ascending the ladder to heaven, they will be guaranteed a satisfying and well-paid job in the knowledge economy sector. However, that assumption ignores the processes of innovation and skill under capitalism. What we are seeing now, as we have seen in the past, is that some of the archetypical knowledge economy sectors such as banking are becoming routinised, that creativity and initiative for which graduates might have been paid a premium are no longer required, because what corporations want is to 32 Debating High Skills Policy(5) 3/9/06 2:01 AM Page 33 THE HIGH-SKILLS THESIS minimise risk, to make the processes of production predictable and to be able to diagnose with precision why things have not gone as predicted.
Firstly, it extends the conventional analyses of skills formation by placing firms and product market strategies at the heart of an understanding of not only skills formation but its relationship to different types of labour market and welfare regime. Secondly, it extends an institutional comparative analysis in both an explanatory and a ‘predictive’ way (predictive in the sense that, given the explanation for the structuring of institutions based on product market strategies, the consequences in terms of links to social protection and inequality map quite well to real-world examples).
Debating High Skills and Joined-up Policy by Andre Kraak