Geographer Sami Moisio’s book analysing the geopolitics of the knowledge-based economy receives an award
The book entitled Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy by Sami Moisio, professor of spatial planning and policy, has been awarded the Routledge Best Book Award 2019 by the Regional Studies Association. The association is one of the leading umbrella organisations in human geography and, in a broader sense, regional and urban studies.

Sami Moisio’s book represents theoretical basic research and describes the societal development that has taken place over the past 40 years, particularly observing the link between the knowledge-based global economy that has its origins in the late 1980s and the spatial transformation of states. Moisio calls this process the urbanisation of states.

“For unitary states, a knowledge-based economy poses a challenge. It classifies places and people into castes according to their potential for success in the global knowledge economy,” Moisio states.

Midsized and small regions with a weak competence pool and no universities, for instance, appear to be particularly unable to keep up with development in this new economic era.

“Public investment, with which the knowledge-based economy is being consolidated, is primarily targeted at the largest population centres,” Moisio points out. In Finland, the biggest beneficiary has been the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

While the importance of creative top talent is emphasised, less educated people are, so to speak, consigned to the margins, away from the core of the new dominant form of economy. Small wonder, then, that in the era of knowledge-based economisation, many groups of people feel like they are left outside current growth and development. According to Moisio, the establishment of the economy described in the book has an evident link to the increasing popularity of populist movements in both Europe and the United States. The marginalisation of regions and groups of people serves as a growth medium for such movements.

Moisio says he wrote the prize-winning book first and foremost for the international community of specialists in human geography, but he is happy and surprised by the interest it has also raised in many other fields of science. The observations in the book on the role of universities as institutions with a special role in the knowledge-based economy have been noted in, among other fields, international comparative research on education.

In mid-November, Moisio will travel to London to accept the award, but he is already planning his next book, which will discuss the urban and state-related characteristics of the startup economy.

Sami Moisio, Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy, 2019, Routledge.