Fostering a Sustainable Learning Society through Knowledge Based Development

Kathia Castro Laszlo, Alexander Laszlo


According to convention, there appear to be two main purposes of knowledge based development: economic prosperity and human development. This paper emphasizes the importance of the balance between these two purposes and suggests that they need to be complemented with an axiological framework grounded in a systemic and evolutionary perspective. Such a contextualization of development brings sustainability into focus and gives direction and meaning to related knowledge strategies. The notion of the knowledge economy has long been embraced as an attractive next stage of post-industrial society. However, it remains grounded in an economic model that treats society and the biosphere as externalities. As a result, the knowledge economy appears as an improved but essentially unchanged paradigm of value exchange that continues to increase the gap between rich and poor, ignores the intrinsic value of living and life-supporting systems, and undermines the viability of the biosphere – as if human systems could live without it. A new framework for understanding development in a systemic and interconnected way – evolutionary development – is presented as the larger container within which knowledge strategies could make a significant difference in terms of the creation of value – not only financial, but also human, social, and ecosystemic. The case of Monterrey, Mexico, as the host of the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2007 and as a place with the intention of becoming a knowledge city, is used to highlight the concrete opportunities to link the economic and human dimensions of knowledge based development for the creation of a sustainable learning society.


evolutionary development; evolutionary learning community; learning society; evolutionary systems design; knowledge management; sustainability

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