Interventions from the floor
Following recent dramatic trends – growing unemployment and inequality, social unrest, natural disasters – the debate on the meaning of economic progress is moving fast, and a new consensus based on the recognition of the inconsistency of short-term, unconditional growth with environmental and social sustainability has led to a re-conceptualization of competitiveness beyond narrow-productivity focused interpretations.
As part of an increasingly influential challenge to the framing of economic progress in pure income terms, competitiveness is seen (also) as the ability of a country or territory to create welfare, based on any subjectively or objectively defined and comparable index including outcome as well as qualitative/process indicators on participation, the integration of people choice and perceptions. A key issue for discussion is the implementation of policies that are conducive to sustainable competitiveness, thus enabling the integration of the economic, social, and environmental pillars. Steering competition between regions through territorial development approaches and policies can provide a conducive framework for sustainable competitiveness, through some of the following ‘enabling factors’: social capital, governance models based on the engagement and coordination of local actors, public-private partnership, innovation through collective learning and inter-firm cooperation processes.