Harvard International Review, Vol XXX, No 3, Fall 2008, Global Education, Vol. 30 (3)
Imagine for an instant that you are the president or rector of a research university in North America or Western Europe. You are well aware that the world of today is increasingly global and competitive, as well as driven by knowledge. In particular, you are observing that the countries that are now emerging so rapidly, in Asia and in other regions of the world, have realized a crucial point: in order to prosper, it is not enough to build on huge masses of cheap—but relatively unqualified—labor; they need to develop the knowledge economy by way of large investments in education, higher education, and research. You begin to understand that these countries are becoming competitors for talent, as they attract back or keep their best citizens. You are also aware that they will be “producing” many more well trained specialists than the “old world,” which has been dominating the knowledge production and transfer scene for centuries. You foresee, therefore, that the emergence of these new economic and political powers will increasingly threaten the relative standard of living of the developed world.