National konkurrenceevne: Marked, befolkning og vækstledelse

Michael Nymann Folmer & Esben Hegnsholt Olsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


starting point for this piece of academic work is an interest in how the nation-state governs its economic affairs, with particular attention to how this influences the conditions of the market. This paper argues that the nation-state manages its wealth by including a broad range of policy shaped to fit the strategic profile of national competitiveness. In this thesis, we ask how theorizing, measuring, and strategizing national competitiveness shapes the governance of economic growth. Addressing this question we analyse how national competitiveness has emerged as an agenda. Analysing this agenda, we draw on key insights in Michel Foucault’s late works as we take an interest in how issues regarding life has become a key part of economic governance. We answer the question by examining the emergence of this agenda on three analytical levels. First, we explore the conceptual formation of national competitiveness through theories of political economy, from Adam Smith to Friedrich List and Michael Porter. Secondly, we inquire into the evolution of measuring the economic wellbeing of nations. From an international perspective, we document how a new body of knowledge has been produced and how it actualises the life of the population as a productive factor. We then investigate the case of Denmark from a national perspective, illustrating how the agenda has transformed the role of the state vís-a-vís businesses and the market. Thirdly, we address the question of strategies and policies by analyzing the ways in which the agenda has been pursued in the distribution of public funds. We conclude that the agenda of national competitiveness has shaped the way economic growth is governed through a redefinition of the market and its relationship with the state, through a construction of a new positivity, and through an empirical body of knowledge that quantifies the productive powers of a population. In the case of Denmark, we argue, this transformation has played out as the emergence of structural and business policies, ultimately establishing growth governance as the art of investing in and shaping the productive powers of human beings.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages136