COLUMN: The economy of the future is knowledge-based

Namik Čolaković
Namik Čolaković

The latest review of migration suggests that the departure of people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also from the entire region, had a galloping trend. Fascinating data on the departure of highly educated staff, leaving the existing job due to dissatisfaction with the position, rewarding and impossibility of promotion, and more often because they cannot find a job are in specifically negative context. It is also indicative that the number of students studying abroad who are potential emigrants is increasing, as they successfully master the language of the country in which they study and adapt to the requirements of the labor market there.

These departures must simply be viewed through the prism of success or failure of work at all levels of government, country, entities, cantons and municipalities, as this is a clear indication that in any case, there are no adequate strategies or the existing ones are not realized. It is depreciating that in the short term no reduction in emigration tendencies is expected and the pessimism of the state is objectively present in the context of the capacity to retain such a structure.

In conditions of high unemployment and insufficient dynamism of economic trends, it is logical to think about the fact that it is unnatural and non-civilized to prevent people who have no job and no certainty that they will get it soon enough to seek employment abroad. Of course, those who have a job must be mentioned, but their work is under-valued or underestimated in the market. There are many reasons for the existing unfavorable economic environment, and the result of such relations is the loss of human capital.

Generally speaking, the importance of human capital has not been particularly emphasized in economic theory even until the emergence of globalization and the expressed needs of national economies to create new internationally competitive values. Then it became crystal clear that people are the basic capital of society. New relationships have brought new conditions for survival on the world market, and increasing the value of companies, branding and positioning of products and services, developing new products, and so on, can be included in that. All mentioned has its source in man, who is the creator of overall relationships.

In line with the challenges of the world market, there has also been a redefinition of the education system, with the intention of developing people’s knowledge and skills, which could respond to demands of development of science and technology, where the state played a key role. The acquisition and application of knowledge have become a common content for all these activities, and knowledge has become a factor that is greatly affected by development of the country, but also its competitiveness in the world market. All of this has led to the correction of the long-standing theoretical position that the wealth of the country is determined by the amount of material resources in its possession.

BH reality and relation to the knowledge economy is best manifested through the official information of international institutions. One of the sources of this information is the World Economic Forum, where the Report on Global Competitiveness covers 137 countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a global competitiveness index of 3.87 and is at 107 position. The Competitiveness Index shows that in the seventh pillar: Labor Market Efficiency, Positions; the country’s capacity to retain talent and the country’s capacity to attract talent are at the very bottom. The same is true in the twelfth pillar: innovation, where a very low ranking in positions is visible; quality institutions for scientific research, the amount of money, which companies spend on research and development, cooperation of universities and economy.

Only this is a sufficient alarm signal, and domestic authorities will have to make a step forward from the current state, burdened with empty rhetoric and reluctance, and face the real problems of this country. And one of the big, if not one of the most important problems, is the underestimation of knowledge, which disperses on the low level of investment in research and innovation, the absence of strategies, a small number of researchers in the economy, the absence of mechanisms for science and economy cooperation and a small number of patents, and technical solutions.

The emigration of people from the country is a process that additionally complicates the identified problems. What BiH has invested in education and training is being lost in this way, especially when it comes to those who are predisposed to achieve top results. The country also loses because investment capital in education and training does not return to the home country. These are fundamental challenges in the future, and not who will accommodate politically like-minded people in the public sector or in the well-paid jobs in state-owned companies.