UNITED NATIONS RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Information Technology, Globalization and Social Development Manuel Castells UNRISD Discussion Paper No. 114, September 1999
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THE NEW SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEM: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, NETWORKING, GLOBALIZATION
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AS A STRATEGIC TOOL
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE INFORMATION AGE: INEQUALITY, POVERTY, MISERY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION u Links Between Informational Capitalism and the Growing Social Crisis
THE FOURTH WORLD
REDEFINING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE INFORMATION AGE
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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