8.1. The traditional concept of individual knowledge
Few mathematical problems remain to be resolved,in a short time we’ll resolve them all Scientific progress in physics is ended, David Hilbert we know all, there are nothing left to discover William Thompson (Lord Kelvin)
The concept of knowledge - of man and within man - has long been the stable centerof monumental reflections in various fields.In economy and above all in management studies, its “statute” - or in other words itscontents - has never been made overly clear.Even today neo-classic economy, management and lastly, common sense are basedon a conception of individual knowledge which is essentially what was devised in thetwentieth century by the epistemology of neo-positivism and logic empiricism.
Knowledge is made up of information.
Information has the same nature of knowledge even if it is found at differenthierarchical levels of the cognitive system.
Therefore a coherent togetherness of information (parts of a jigsaw, bits, etc)forms a knowledge.In other words it is enough to put the pieces of a mosaic (information) together andknowledge appears as a result of the assembling sum of the pieces.In the neoclassical approach and on the foundations of a managerial approach, in fact,knowledge-information is held to be endowed with three fundamental attributes.
.there is no gain to acquire the same information twice...the production of knowledge is thus basically different from the production of goods
.There is in other words no intrinsic advantage in re-producing a unit of knowledge-information, as its intensive utilization benefits from economies of such a scale thatany incentive to produce a new bit of the same knowledge-information is devoid of effectiveness
Absence of rivalry in use
. The same unit of knowledge can be used by more than onesubject at a time, i.e. one bit of knowledge can be re-produced ad infinitum atmarginal costs equal to zero.
Arrow K.J.: “Classificatory notes on the production and transmission of technological knowledge”, AmericanEconomic Review, May 1969, pg. 30. Arrow K.J.: “Economic welfare and the allocation of resources for invention”, inNelson R.R. (Ed.): “The rate and direction of inventive activity. Economic and social factors”, Princeton UniversityPress, Princeton, Usa, 1962, pg 609-625.
«..the same knowledge that enables the youngest to make the first airplane (of paper) will serve him to make his sixthor twelfth airplane...», Machlup F.: “The economics of information and human capital”, N.Y. University Press, NewYork, Usa, 1984, pg. 160.