2014 volume 32(1) pages 108 – 128
doi:10.1068/c1246r

Cite as:
Birch K, Mykhnenko V, 2014, "Lisbonizing versus financializing Europe? The Lisbon Agenda and the (un)making of the European knowledge-based economy" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 32(1) 108 – 128

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Lisbonizing versus financializing Europe? The Lisbon Agenda and the (un)making of the European knowledge-based economy

Kean Birch, Vlad Mykhnenko

Abstract. The Lisbon Agenda was meant to make the European Union ‘the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy (KBE) in the world’ by 2010. As that date has now come and gone, it is apt to ask whether the Lisbon Agenda achieved its objective. We engage with this very question by analyzing new empirical material on the supposed transition to a KBE. Theoretically, we problematize the very notion that EU policies promoted the emergence of a KBE by highlighting how the Lisbon Agenda was tied to the financialization of the European economy. Our findings illustrate the abject failure of the EU’s decade-long strategy to foster a new economy and better employment opportunities. We show that the main winners of the EU’s economic strategy have been the finance sector and those who work in it. In summary, we argue that, despite the earlier assurances of Bell and Drucker, it is not the scientist or engineer but the banker who has been empowered to command a higher price in the new world of the KBE.
Keywords: Lisbon Agenda, European Union, knowledge-based economy, financialization

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