The 2008 ESRI Geary Lecture “The Entrepreneurial Society”

November 13, 2008 4:00PM - 5:30PM

Venue: ESRI, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2

Speaker: Professor David Audretsch.

David B. Audretsch is a Distinguished Professor and the Ameritech Chair of Economic Development and Director of the Institute for Development Strategies at Indiana University. He is the Director of the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, Germany. He also serves as a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Professor Audretsch is ranked as the 21st most cited scholar in economics and business, 1996-2006. He was awarded the 2001 International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research by the Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Augsburg. Further details

Previous generations enjoyed the security of lifelong employment with a sole employer. Public policy and social institutions reinforced that security by producing a labor force content with mechanized repetition in manufacturing plants, and creating loyalty to one employer for life. This is no longer the case. Globalisation and new technologies have triggered a shift away from capital and toward knowledge. In today’s global economy, where jobs and factories can be moved quickly to low-cost locations, the competitive advantage has shifted to ideas, insights, and innovation. But it is not enough just to have new ideas. It takes entrepreneurs to actualize them by championing them to society. Entrepreneurship has emerged as the proactive response to globalisation. This study identifies the positive, proactive response to globalisation—the entrepreneurial society, where change is the cutting edge and routine work is inevitably outsourced. Under the managed economy of the cold war era, government policies around the world supported big business, while small business was deemed irrelevant and largely ignored. This presentation explains the fundamental policy revolution under way, shifting the focus to technology and knowledge-based entrepreneurship, where start-ups and small business have emerged as the driving force of innovation, jobs, competitiveness and growth. The role of the university has accordingly shifted from tangential to a highly valued seedbed for coveted new ideas with the potential to create not just breathtaking new ventures, but also entire new industries. By understanding the shift from the managed economy and the emergence of the entrepreneurial society, individuals, businesses, and communities can learn how to proactively harness the opportunities afforded by globalisation in this new entrepreneurial society.

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The Geary lecture is organised each year by the ESRI and honours Dr R. C. Geary (1896 –1983), the first Director of the Institute, the most eminent Irish statistician and economist of the twentieth century. Previous lectures have been given by some of the world’s foremost scholars in the fields of economics, statistics and sociology, including a number of other Nobel Prize winners.



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