The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies

The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies

Measuring Inclusion and Diffusion in Europe

Edited by Paolo Guerrieri and Sara Bentivegna

The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies offers a profoundly illuminating examination of ICT transformations in Europe and its critical role in greater social inequality. It presents scholars and policy makers with original and practical tools to benchmark and assess the ICT diffusion and inclusion process. The core message of the book is that a coherent European strategy for embedding ICT technologies in society is long overdue.

Chapter 4: Digital inequalities in Europe

Edited by Paolo Guerrieri and Sara Bentivegna

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict


4.1 OLD AND NEW FORMS OF DIGITAL INEQUALITIES Although digital inclusion is proceeding all over Europe – even if not to the same extent – we are still far away from the knowledge-based economy and society hypothesized by the Lisbon conference. To hasten the realization of the concept and to recover the damage caused by the economic crisis that wiped out years of economic and social progress in Europe, the main principles of the Europe 2020 Strategy (CEC, 2010a) were launched by the European Commission in March 2010. Within the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Digital Agenda for Europe’s objective is to chart a course to maximize the social and economic potential of ICT, most notably the internet, a vital medium of economic and societal activity: for doing business, working, playing, communicating and expressing ourselves freely. Successful delivery of this Agenda will spur innovation, economic growth and improvements in daily life for both citizens and businesses. (CEC, 2010b, p. 3) However, in order to ensure economic growth and significant improvement in the daily life of citizens it is vital that digital inclusion proceeds without establishing new forms of marginalization and exclusion. Unfortunately, data on the state of digitalization in Europe clearly show a scenario where ‘high-performing’ states, where a high percentage of people are digitally included, such as Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden, coexist with ‘low-performing’ states, where the majority of people are digitally excluded (Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Portugal, and Romania). This kind of inequality not only...

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