The kaleidoscope of competitiveness

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The kaleidoscope of competitiveness


Competitiveness has become one of the main "standards" governing the ever-changing interplay of interests at the international level. Trade liberalization, structural adjustments, the retooling of production, intelligent coexistence with our natural resources, the struggle to eliminate poverty --all are viewed, in one way or another, through the prism of competitiveness. This has transformed competitiveness into some sort of compulsory principle by which international status is measured and which influences the formulation and implementation of business strategies and national policies. The literature on competitiveness offers a wide array of definitions, ranging from ones that focus on economic aspects to others that attempt to link up the techno-economic, sociopolitical and cultural aspects of the competitive process. The differences among them lie in the way in which they look at the relationship between development and competitiveness. The author contends that it is possible to fashion a "map" of competitiveness: a network of key, inter-linked concepts whose objective remains the same regardless of how competitiveness is defined, i.e., to gain, hold onto, and expand one's market share. This map depicts an ordered yet flexible set of concepts --a territory and its roads-- which can be adapted to the interests and objectives of the user and which, like a kaleidoscope, serves innumerable purposes and permits suitable concepts to be devised to cope with specific problems.