Techno-futurism and the knowledge economy in New Zealand
Stephenson, Iain James
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This thesis analyses the material and ideological dimensions of the knowledge economy with particular reference to New Zealand. The emergence of the new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the context of transnational capitalism precipitates the co modification of information, communication and knowledge. This process is obscured by the ideological construction of techno-futurism. Techno-futurism is a combination of technological determinism and futurism that appropriates notions of progress. In the pages which follow, historical analyses of this ideology inform the subsequent critique of knowledge economy discourse. In New Zealand knowledge economy discourse contained techno-futurist elements and deflected attention from the global absorption of national capitalism. In this context the Catching the Knowledge Wave Conference (KWC), held in Auckland in the first days of August 2001, is examined. I argue that the instigators and organisers of the conference were enmeshed within the business culture of finance capital and ICTs. Textual analysis of keynote addresses reveals the ideological dimensions to knowledge wave and knowledge economy talk. These dimensions are; entrepreneurialism, knowledge as (economic) progress, and globalism.