Chapter 3: Information Technology, Cumulative Causation and Patterns of Globalization in the Third World
14273_Technology/Chapter 3 7/11/01 1:59 pm Page 1 3. Information technology, cumulative causation and patterns of globalization in the Third World INTRODUCTION The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the economic characteristics of information technology (defined broadly to include not only new forms of communications but also industrial machinery), and thereby gain a better understanding of its probable effects on the global economy. Although technical change in general and information technology in particular are now widely accepted as being important determinants of productivity and growth within particular countries, their effects on the patterns of the global economy have yet to be systematically analysed. In attempting this task our goal is not at all, however, to make the case for technological determinism, that is, the notion that technology is the sole influence over these patterns of global integration. Our argument is rather, that if poor countries are to exploit the advantages afforded by information technology for integrating themselves more fully into the global economy, they will need to be fully conversant with its numerous characteristics and the resulting impulses that it is likely to propagate (such as, for example, how it will alter the nature of global competition and the locational behaviour of multinational corporations). Thus, while we fully acknowledge the wide range of influences sociological, political and economic - that provide the context in which technology exerts its ultimate influence on the global economy, we also feel that there is something to be gained by simplifying this hugely...
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