The Co-evolution of Influence and Technology
Chapter 6: Internationalization and Digital Divide
6.1 INTRODUCTION The previous two chapters examined the dynamics of the evolution of the Internet system. The biased and uneven political, economic and technological power relations between countries, notably the USA and other countries, appear to have shaped the competition between the Internet system and the X.25 data network system. At the same time, from the earliest stage of development, Internet technologies have extended to some countries via the international science communities to facilitate collaborative research and technology development. The expansion of the Internet and the global system was shaped by these competing and collaborating activities. They were intertwined with national and regional research network-building processes. The uneven global expansion of the Internet system does appear to reﬂect the different political and economic contexts that are embedded in the building of regional research networks. Despite the explosive growth of the Internet, there are huge discrepancies worldwide in terms of accessibility. These differences are far greater than for other ICTs and far greater in terms of disparities in the wealth of economies. As a result, there are economic and political concerns about the consequences of Internet system development for the existing world economic order. The uneven development between countries of ICTs, including the Internet, is said to be contributing to changes in the international division of labour and in technological leadership. Economic and political concerns have been expressed about the consequences that the uneven development of the Internet system will have, particularly in terms of whether Internet system development will...
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