The high road or the low road? Alternatives for Australia's future

Marceau, Jane, Manley, Karen, & Sicklen, Derek (1997) The high road or the low road? Alternatives for Australia's future. Australian Business Foundation, Sydney, NSW.

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The OECD suggests that countries now have a choice. They can focus on development based on either:  competition via investment in technology and innovation - which is important in high knowledge industries and high innovation economies, or  competition via exchange rates and wages - which is important in industries producing standardised, lower-tech goods and services. The first route will maximise higher-skilled, higher-paid employment growth and living standards. Given the lack of control over the exchange rate, the second route requires competition based on wages. It is essential to understand that markets themselves won’t shift a country from one path to the other. These conclusions arise from the OECD’s recognition that technical progress - the creation of new products or the adoption of more efficient methods of production - is the main source of economic growth and enhanced quality of life. Technological change is, the OECD suggests, ...also the engine for job creation as higher wages and profits resulting from technology-induced productivity gains and lower prices lead to increased demand for new products from existing as well as new industries (1997: 4).Further, Competitiveness in high-technology industries is mainly driven by technology factors and much less by wage and exchange rate movements, while the reverse is true in low-technology industries (OECD 1996e: 12). The OECD has shown that sound macroeconomic conditions, such as the low inflation and reduced public sector debt visible in almost all member countries in the 1990s, are not enough to deal with high levels of unemployment and the need to increase levels of income: If economic performance is to improve, additional structural reform, which can increase innovation and the diffusion of technologies within and among national economies, seems necessary (OECD 1997: 4 Emphasis added).

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ID Code: 41292
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: technology and innovation, higher-skilled, higher-paid, high-technology industries
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1997 Australian Business Foundation
Deposited On: 14 Apr 2011 22:58
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2011 14:34

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