Effects on Globalization in Culture Differentiation

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UNITED NATIONS RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Information Technology, Globalization and Social Development Manuel Castells UNRISD Discussion Paper No. 114, September 1999

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous agency engaging in multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development. Its work is guided by the conviction that, for effective development policies to be formulated, an understanding of the social and political context is crucial. The Institute attempts to provide governments, development agencies, grassroots organizations and scholars with a better understanding of how development policies and processes of economic, social and environmental change affect different social groups. Working through an extensive network of national research centres, UNRISD aims to promote original research and strengthen research capacity in developing countries. A list of UNRISD’s free and priced publications can be obtained by contacting the Reference Centre.

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Copyright © United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). Short extracts from this publication may be reproduced unaltered without authorization on condition that the source is indicated. For rights of reproduction or translation, application should be made to UNRISD, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland. UNRISD welcomes such applications. The designations employed in UNRISD publications, which are in conformity with United Nations practice, and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNRISD concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The responsibility for opinions expressed in signed articles, studies and other contributions rests solely with their authors, and publication does not constitute an endorsement by UNRISD of the opinions expressed in them.

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u Contents
u Summary/Résumé/Resumen
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INTRODUCTION

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THE NEW SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEM: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, NETWORKING, GLOBALIZATION

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INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS A STRATEGIC TOOL

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GLOBALIZATION

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NETWORKING

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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE INFORMATION AGE: INEQUALITY, POVERTY, MISERY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION u Links Between Informational Capitalism and the Growing Social Crisis

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THE FOURTH WORLD

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REDEFINING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE INFORMATION AGE

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REFERENCES

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u Summary/Résumé/Resumen
Summary
For the first time in history the entire planet is capitalist. Even the few remaining command economies are surviving or developing through their linkages to global, capitalist markets. Yet this is a brand of capitalism that is at the same time very old and fundamentally new. It is old because it appeals to relentless competition in the pursuit of profit, and because individual satisfaction (deferred or immediate) is its driving engine. But it is fundamentally new because it is tooled by new information and communication technologies that are at the root of new productivity sources, new organizational forms, and the construction of a global economy. In the following paper, presented at the UNRISD conference on Information Technologies and Social Development (Geneva, June 1998), Manuel Castells examines the profile of this new world, centred around multinational corporations, global financial markets and a highly concentrated system of technological research and development. He stresses the extreme flexibility of the system, which allows it to link up everything that is...
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