Shubhash Dhuliya |
The information revolution has taken place at such a fast pace that it has become difficult to fully and comprehensively interpret its implications. The technological advance camouflaged in the total package of globalization has acquired such an imposing and rampaging form that the developing countries have been left with little space and time to tailor it to meet their specific national development and information needs.
A critical examination of the information revolution shows that it has not brought about any fundamental changes in the international political, economic and social structure. At the most the information society can be seen as a logical consequence of previous historical phases. What is being termed as information revolution may in its content seem to be equally non-revolutionary as its predecessor, the industrial revolution. What did not change were the power relationships between winners and losers, between rulers and ruled. These only acquired new names. Different techniques came into play but access to their management was not radically altered. Changes were expected and have taken place. The sources of power did shift with the transformation of first, an agrarian society into an industrial one, which then gave way to the information society. The source of power changed from land ownership to capital ownership, and from capital ownership to information ownership; but what fundamental difference does this make when, after every shift, there is a new elite (usually evolving from the old one)? In the information society, the basic resource is information and information technology is the life-blood of many other technologies, and in fact often the carrying mechanism through which other technological developments become operational. The question that needs to be examined is what impact communication technologies will have on global economy, the distribution of political power, the growing gap between the rich and the poor and the relationship between multinational companies and national sovereign governments.
The information revolution has incorporated the ever expanding additional purchasing power segment of the developing societies-the thriving middle class- that is becoming increasingly dependent on the somewhat ‘magical power’ of the new and ever changing information technologies. But, the broad direction of development remains unaltered in terms of political, economic and social class relationships.
The information revolution has incorporated the ever expanding additional purchasing power segment of the developing societies- the thriving middle class -that is becoming increasingly dependent on the somewhat ‘magical power’ of the new and ever changing information technologies. But, the broad direction of development remains unaltered in terms of political, economic and social class relationships. The new information instruments that have emerged have been adopted by affluent societies and again affluent sections of the developing societies. The information revolution has accelerated the lop-sided social development, which has the potential of generation a new kind of social unrest.
The very size of the multinationals, combined with their fierce drive for markets and technology, unleashes intense competitive forces on a global scale that make for continual upheaval and instability. The multinationals are the basic instruments used by capitalism to break down national economies and to build a global capitalist system. In the process national economies and social classes are being destabilized and torn apart by the global competitive forces at work.
The dominant economic premise of the information revolution is massive expansion of the service sector, increase in the productivity of labour and capital to facilitate the expansion of additional purchasing power segment of the developing society and creation and expanding the markets. As reflected in its present direction of development, it does not hold much promise for the millions who are outside the market system. Thus, the information age contains and inherent tendency to generate political and social upheavals. This tendency could only get stronger if the present trend continues to dominate human life. This trend is amply reflected in the process of globalization which began in the 1980s with the explicit objective of establishing a neo-liberal market system that facilitated the emergence of a powerful global media dominated by the West.
Commercialization of Entertainment
Simultaneously, there was drastic restructuring of national media industries and emergence of a commercial media market with a dominant consumerist tilt. The global media played a central role in the corporate takeover of the national economies of the developing countries. The global media dominated by commercial considerations has all along been seeking to expand its market through more and more entertainment, at the expense of the public sphere. National media and communications systems have traditionally enabled people to have better communication among themselves, but the commercial exploitation of the mass media and technology have certainly had adverse consequences. Many people feel powerless and victimized as they compare their own condition with the “good life” portrayed through the media. It even kept on developing in the direction of detailing the very concept of entertainment at the cost of depth and seriousness. Healthy entertainment was swiftly converted into a vulgar one.
Although there has been a rapid increase in television channels over the years but the way market strategists project it there has been apparently an insatiable demand for more entertainment programming than for diversified and alternative channels. It was legitimately expected from a revolution of this kind that it would provide socially relevant information and entertainment to people at large. But what we are witnessing today is the same old status quoits stuff being disseminated with an intensity which mankind has not known before. In this kind of market situation, people are led to believe that they have plenty of choice. Everything is available in the media market at the push of a button. Because of free play of the market forces, there is a flood of products. The media market has become more like a consumer goods market. The supremacy of the consumer in the modern media market is somewhat of a myth. In fact packaging and forms of media programming have been massively expanding while the content has been shrinking substantially. In the final analysis, it is not so much the consumers as the producers who decide what the market ‘requires’. Technical options have increased the manipulative capabilities of producers.
The second great technological development which will supposedly transform our lives is the communication satellite. The boom in communication satellites has facilitated the media consumer to access large number of television channels. Most of these channels are beaming western media programmes, which are obviously heavily loaded with western values and ideology. As a consequence even the indigenous channels, governed by commercial considerations, joined the bandwagon and started to package their media programming on the lines of their western counterparts. But what have changed there are more sport, more films and more pop music. There has been a slight increase in news and this whole process of the readers, listeners and viewers transforming into consumers reflects the underlying power game. And, the worst part is that all of them are ruled by an elite, which is eager to become a part of the emerging transnational power system. The dominant trends of the day reflects that the ruling elite in these countries value their own or their countries’ adoption by corporate business more than their independence-a position difficult to sustain for much longer a period.
Market research in free market situations has often reinforced the existing choices and preferences and in the process discouraged new concepts which is true for the consumer goods market and more so for the media market. In recent years, even in our country, this kind of bandwagon effect can be noticed in media programming. There were certain kinds of media programmes which attracted a sizable chunk of the audience and were followed by same kind of programming in various other television channels. Market research tends to perpetuate the status quo and is adverse to change as it does not offer alternatives.
Role of Global Media
The global media is playing an important role in creation an informational and ideological environment that helps sustain the political, economic, and moral basis for marketing goods and for having a profit-driven social order. The drastic changes that took place during the last two decades have strengthened the trend. These events include the collapse of the Soviet model of controlled and command economy, which was interpreted as the triumph of the neo-liberal path of development. The New World Order turning unipolar further strengthened and accelerated the process of globalization and information revolution played a vital role in it.
Technology Dominates Information
The information revolution created massive networks of information which in their basic nature and character are highly centralized and excessively being used to control and manage the post-cold war world order. Again, because of the centralized nature of the information revolution, it came to be dominated by the new technologies and the role of information component declined which is relatively more social by its very nature.
Since information constitutes an important base for offering political and economic power, the powerful society, who do not want to see their power eroded, will do everything they can to control and manage the flow of information. The new information technologies have drastically enhanced this power of developed countries and the ruling elite in the developing countries. But at the same time the ruling elite is not prepared to lose its national identity. As a result its incorporation in the multinational power structure is still in the formative stage and the futuristic scenario is quite uncertain.
For the ruling elite of the developing countries it is imperative to maintain its national identity to retain its governing power and in this context even the controlling power of information may prove inadequate after being used repeatedly. Certain amount of resistance has been noticed in establishing various international regimes particularly in the economic sphere. This was amply manifested at eh recent meeting of the World Trade Organization despite the fact that the developed world in the post-cold war order has acquired much greater and decisive say in various matters of international concern.
The kind of reality the developing countries are facing is one of growing dilemmas which include greater demands for economic and political representation and redistribution. External pressures for free market access have put the developing countries’ ruling elite in an uncertain and precarious position. The direction of development of the process of globalization can drift towards another kind of international economic crisis such as that faced by the Asian Tigers and thus may become a destabilizing factor for the post-cold war international order. With the rise of information age the need for mass labour is sharply declining. In the era of automation, computers and simple robotic machines enable corporations and businesses to expel millions of labourer from the manufacturing, processing and services industries. Even government bureaucracies are bound to be downsized as data processing machines take over much of their work. With the decline of labour intensive industries and agricultural system, employment opportunities are shrinking for those who left the land for the cities. On the one hand is a vast ever expanding pool of people who are impoverished and marginalized and on the other hand an increased dissemination of information power is also creating new social segments within the growing middle class whose constituents are feeling ignored when facing reality in relation to the dream world presented to them through various kinds of media and information images.
At this juncture, it is difficult to understand how ordinary people’s reception of events is affected or to predict what effects the new media will have on the audiences who directly comprise the new social segments of the expanding middle class and through multi-step communication process, reach the marginalised in an extremely mediated manner. It would be irrational to assume that people who spend hours a day before a television or internet set or that the corporations that control most aspects of our mediated lives and spend billions of dollars on programmes, advertising, voice and data transfer to assure consumer piety are not engaged in some form of communication. It would be equally irrational to argue that these focused one way flows of corporate information and images are constituent elements of dialogue. Are there any more effective instruments in the existing communication order for the developing countries?
Global disorder and instability are clearly major concerns of the business and governing classes. The post cold war world order has played a central role in the creation of this increasingly unstable and disorderly world. The emergence of the so-called global economy clearly amounts to hegemony of the West. The information revolution is leading the concentration of wealth that is in turn leading to misery and marginalization for the ever increasing numbers of the world’s population.
The drastic changes in the recent past in the information sector are an integral part of the changes taking place in the political and economic spheres. In this background, the information revolution by its very nature is not an explosion but rather an implosion which has occurred within the parameters of the multinational power structure which came into existence during the cold war period and has greatly influenced the emerging new order. The implosive nature of the information revolution resulted in widening of the gap between the information-rich and information-poor at various levels-internationally and nationally. The way this transition has been projected also means that mankind has entered an entirely new era. It obviously means a break from the previous society. But then its basic content has proved to be an extension of the industrial society. In fact, it has strengthened the industrial society by substantially increasing the productivity of not only labour but also that of capital.
Emergence of “New Markets”
This massive enhancement in productivity has facilitated additional generation of resources which were the key factors in the expansion of the middle classes-the additional purchasing power segment of the society. This means emergence of expanded markets for industrial goods as well as information products. The information revolution has not changed the basic structure of production and distribution of various types of products and continues to cherish the values of the industrial age.
Despite advances in communication technologies and massive outpouring of information in various forms it failed to facilitate a wider distribution of information. Distribution is paradoxically restricted to those who already have more than their fair share of information. Now even questions are being raised as to what extent even the information-rich are informed or are they more misinformed? Are they intellectually skilled enough, to decipher the hidden meanings that are being communicated through intense bombardments of various types of information? Information is becoming highly specialized and complex. It implies that despite the huge volume of information available to people more people know less. The resource information is far more difficult to exploit than land and capital. It requires highly developed intellectual and managerial skills that are unevenly distributed in the society.
The information revolution has undoubtedly set in but the question arises how and in which direction is it going to bring about change? The information revolution equates technical progress with the qualitative improvement of human life. This leap from quantitative growth to qualitative growth is used to sanction unrestrained technical development for the purpose of material expansion. Information becomes a source of power only if the necessary infrastructure for its production, processing, storing, retrieval and transportation is accessible. Assuming that people are informed about the exploitative nature of the governance, yet they did not act, and their information did not become a source of power, because they lacked material and strategic means to transform their dissent into a political and social stream powerful enough to change the course of the developments. The latest information revolution has the potential to change the direction of its development and despite its highly controlled nature it may well become ‘uncontrollable’ in a given specific objective situation.
The faster development of information technology has made centralized control over decentralized activities simpler than ever before, thus allowing more latitude for deviant political behavior. Moreover, the link between information technology and democratization is guided by unwarranted expectations able it what machines per se can do. This is based on the assumption that more machines make lives of the people qualitatively different. The information techniques employed in today’s societies are instruments to perpetuate the existing mode of production. They offer the support necessary for cost-effective division of labour, a fragmentation of the production process, integrated control of all facets of production and optimum use of the management structure of centralized decentralization of the large industrial corporations.
New Business Culture
In the cultural sphere, again, the direction of development of the information revolution suggests that it tends to support a global process of synchronization rather than autonomous diversity. As the messages don not originate in a vacuum but from a well defined political, economic and cultural position, the process of communication and its content acquire normative dimensions. The value loaded messages tell how the world “is” and how it “ought” to be “civilized”. Today the information revolution is selling dreams as if the new information technologies offer a magic wand which can solve all the problems that mankind is facing. The information revolution has also set in a process of synchronization at political, economic, social and cultural levels.
Information techniques facilitate the emergence of a cheap entertainment market that defines and produces cultural products and services. This leads to a rapid loss of traditional self-defined mechanism through which people have been enriching themselves and has always been central to cultural development.
In the wake of the information revolution and new dimensions the process of globalization has acquired in the post-cold war world order, a new business culture has emerged which is the latest version of colonialism and the latest fad to reach the middle class of the developing countries. The new business culture has been devised and formulated in the West and exported without any regard to its appropriateness to the developing countries in which it is being taken up with great zeal. The imagination of the youth of the developing countries is particularly caught by the new business culture. They have been seized by fresh hope to get passage to open magic doors and entry into multinational sector, which is perceived to be a world of wealth, security and work for life-the dream the business culture has been able to market. Certain sections of the ever expanding middle classes in the developing countries are certainly being incorporated into the new business culture but the major chunk are denied entry and this is bound to become another source of unrest in another social sector.
The Image and Reality
At times, the information revolution creates images as if its creators and managers are ignorant of the consequences of their own actions and are not in a position to objectively assess the force of the undercurrents and are just allowing themselves to be swayed by the currents. At times, technological developments seem to be overtaking the ruling elite’s capacity to foresee the political, economic and socio-cultural implications of the application of new technologies. It is extremely important to properly assess these implications before accepting any technology in any specific environment. Their use is never neutral. It is influenced by many political or financial considerations. It is therefore important to know who takes decisions and how as far as application of new technologies are concerned. In the post-cold war world, most of the developing countries suffered substantial erosion of their power to take independent decision which also facilitated lop-sided application of new technologies.
In recent years technologies in the information sector have been rampaging the market and political leadership was found groping in the dark. In the aftermath of the information revolution the decision making process has become more centralized and common people exercise little influence over decision making contrary to claims that it will facilitate greater participation of people in governance. Even if the general public exercises any influence, it is difficult to assess the efficacy of such intervention. The pattern in information saturated societies is less and less participation of people in most of the democratic exercises.
If anything, the communication revolution is turning out to be an exercise in consolidating the military, economic and political powers of the elite. In particular it is of the greatest importance to a hundred or so transnational corporations. Rapid collection and transmission data made the global expansion of the transnational conglomerates possible in the first place. In that sense it has changed the global economy, global politics and the global military strategy.
Some of the third world countries have their own communication systems, which were perceived as an obstacle to the expansion of the transnational corporations. But the odds are in favour of transnational’s as they have almost a monopoly on what is in the sky. Another reason for the strength of the transnational corporations is the weakness of many nation-states. They are either too small or economically weak, or they find it difficult to harness regional economic power.
With the end of cold war and collapse of controlled model of economies, the developed capitalist countries and international financial institutions were able to force the developing countries to open up their weak economies to the global economic system dominated by the multinationals. The multinationals are taking advantage by using more flexible and less visible forms of accumulation to exploit human and material resources of the developing countries. To obtain these resources and commodities, the spheres of commerce and finance are increasingly used by transnational capital.
The global triumph of neo-liberalism in 1989 was synchronous with rapid acceleration of the globalization process in all spheres and coincided with new quests for markets. The developing countries that are in “take off” stage and the so-called “neo-industrialized countries” have become extremely important for the transnational capital and are putting in all efforts to create a market for its goods and commodities.
In this context and efficient network of communication came into existence to transform the emerging middle class groups and organizations into the market. In the process the diverse societies have been exposed to the ideology of neo-liberalism.
There is no doubt that the information revolution has increased the power of the multinational power structure and its ability to control public consciousness. But at the same time a parallel stream is developing which is closer to reality which is developing mistrust towards media. The technological revolution in computers and mass communications has also enabled many small groups to project an alternative point of view which in a way is challenging the dominant ideology of contemporary world. Media can maintain its credibility as a guardian of public consciousness only to the extent it is a channel of manifestation of public dissent. In recent times this important sector of media has shown a decline and a large number of information outpouring tend to ignore basic problems of people and imposed and artificial agenda which has put the credibility of the media in question.
The information revolution this hardly constitutes a concrete reality for most developing countries because they cannot take full advantage of the range of possibilities offered by it owing to lack of resources. They have to rely on the developed countries both for the technology and the resources needed to purchase it which are not going to be made easily available as the key driving force of the process of globalization is market driven- a system in which profit reigns supreme.
What is on the Horizon
Knowledge, more than ever before, is power. The one country that can best lead the information revolution will be more powerful than any other. For the foreseeable future, that country is the United States. America has apparent strength in military power and economic production. Yet its more subtle comparative advantage is its ability to collect, process, act upon, and disseminate information, an edge that will almost certainly grow over the next decade. This advantage stems from Cold War investments and America’s open society, thanks to which it dominates important communications and information processing technologies-space-based surveillance, direct broadcasting, high-speed computers-and has an unparalleled ability to integrate complex information systems.
-Joseph S. Nye, Jr. and William A Omens.
“America’s Information Edge” published in the Foreign Affairs, March/April 1996.
Soft power is the ability to get desired outcomes because others want what you want. It is the ability to achieve goals through attraction rather than coercion. It works by convincing others to follow or getting them to agree to norms and institutions that produce the desired behavior. Soft power can rest on the appeal of one’s ideas or culture or the ability to set the agenda through standards and institutions that shape the preferences of others. It depends largely on the persuasiveness of the free information that an actor seeks to transmit. If a state can make its power legitimate in the eyes of others and establish international institutions that encourage others to define their interests in compatible ways, it may not need to expend as many costly traditional economic or military resources.
The quantity of information available in cyberspace means little by itself. The quality of information and distinctions between types of information are probably more important. Information does not just exist; it is created. When one considers the incentives to create information, three different types of information that are sources of power become apparent.
Prophets of a new cyber world, like modernists before them, often overlook how much the new world overlaps and rests on the traditional world in which power depends on geographically based institutions. In 1998, 100 million people used the Internet. Even if this number reaches a billion in 2005, as some experts predict, a large portion of the world’s people will not participate. Moreover, globalization is far from universal. Three-quarters of the world’s population does not own a telephone, much less a modern and computer.
Robert O.Keobane and Joseph S. Nye Jr.
“Power and Interdependence in the information Age”
Published in the Foreign Affairs, September/October, 1998.
People in Washington play lots of games, but none for higher stakes than The Day After. They played a version of it in the depths of the Cold War, hoping the exercise would shake loose some bright ideas for a US response to nuclear attack. They’re playing it again today, but the scenario has changed – now they’re preparing for information war.
The game takes 50 people, in five teams of ten. To ensure a fair and fruitful contest, each team includes a cross-section of official Washington – CIA spooks, FBI agents, foreign policy experts, Pentagon boffins, geopoliticos from the National Security Council- not the soldiers against the cops against the spies against the geeks against the wonks.
The Day After starts in a Defense Department briefing room. The teams are presented with a series of hypothetical incidents, said to have occurred during the preceding 24 hours. Georgia’s telecom system has gone down. The signals on Amtrak’s New York to Washington line have failed, precipitating a head-on collision. Air traffic control at LAX has collapsed. A bomb has exploded at an army base in Texas. And so forth.
The teams fan out to separate rooms with one hour to prepare briefing papers for the president “Not to worry- these are isolated incidents, an unfortunate set of coincidences” is one possible conclusion. Another might be “Someone – We’re still trying to determine who-appears to have the US under full scale attack.” Or may be just “Round up the usual militia suspects”
The game resumes a couple of days later. Things have gone from bad to worse. The powers down in four northeastern states, Denver’s water supply has dried up, the US ambassador to Ethiopia has been kidnapped, and terrorists have hijacked American Airlines 747 en route from Rome. Meanwhile, in Tehran, the mullahs are stepping up their rhetoric against the “Great Satan”. Iranian tanks are on the move toward Saudi Arabia. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, in a flak jacket, is reporting live outside the US embassy in Addis Ababa. ABC’s Peter Jennings is quizzing George Stephanopoulos on the president’s state of mind.
When suddenly, the satellites over North America all go blind…..
-John Carlin. “A Farewell to Arms” published
in the Wired, May 1997
The most distinctive feature of the latest “new world order” is not to be found in the withering away of war but in a widening gap between the conditions of international life in the advanced democratic states versus those in the Third World. Perhaps; the portion of the world within which war is obsolete can be-slowly-enlarged. But out-side of that portion, advanced weaponry, nationalist rivalries, and disputed borders suggest an increased danger of pre-emptive and preventive wars among Third World states. Indeed, the very ideas and technologies that proved stabilizing and reassuring to the great powers during the cold war may prove destabilizing and unsettling in the post-cold war Third World.
The debate about the latest “new world order” – the third in this century alone-turns primarily on claims about the obsolescence of war and war-like behavior following the end of the cold war. Some claims in particular dominate recent discussions of the role the United States should play in the post-cold war world.
The first such assumption is that threats are disappearing: “Americans now face no menace from any foreign military power or any hostile ideology”. As military capabilities shrink in importance, “economic and social strengths will in any ways become the primary determinants of world influence”. But the events of the past three years should convince even the most Pollyannaish observers that none of their assumptions are supportable at least, yet.
-Wallace J. Thies. “Rethinking the New World
Order” published in the Orbis, Fall 1994.
World politics is entering a new phase, and intellectuals have not hesitated to proliferate visions of what it will be-the end of history, the return of traditional rivalries between nation states, and the decline of the nation state from the conflicting pulls of tribalism and globalism, among others, Each of these visions catches aspects of the emerging reality. Yet they all miss a crucial, indeed central, aspect of what global politics is likely to be in the coming years.
It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.
-Samuel P. Huntington “The Clash of Civilizations?”
published in the Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993.
Huntington’s article had provoked a series of responses and these have been published in the fall issue of the Foreign Affairs. The respondents include one Arab Muslim now teaching in the John Hopkins University, Professor Fouad Ajaml: One diplomat of Indian origin, born and brought up in Singapore, Mr. Kishore Mahbuybani: one Chinese dissident now in Princeton, Prof Liu Binyan and four Americans. None of them subscribe to Professor Huntington’s thesis that conflicts between civilizations will supplant ideological and other forms of conflict as the dominant global form of conflict and institutions for cooperation will be more likely to develop within civilizations and conflicts will more often arise between groups in different civilizations…. Civilizations will interact with each other, compete with each other and challenge each other, but the probability of their clashing with each other on the lines of two world wars fought among the western nations does not appear to be high, partly because of the existence of nuclear weapons. The developments in Japan, Asian rim and China would indicate that high technology industrialization may not continue to remain an exclusive western preserve. Nor can one be sure of Western Europe and the United States Seeing Eye to eye on technology transfer to other rapidly industrializing parts of the world.
-K Subrahmanyam. “Fallacy of civilizational clash”
published in the Economic Times, 3 November 1993.
The dramatic events of the past five years have made that paradigm intellectual history. There is clearly a need for a new model that will help us to order and to understand central developments in world politics. What is the best simple map of the post-cold War world?… A map of the new world “The Clash of Civilizations” is an effort to lay out elements of a post- Cold War paradigm.
-Samuel P. Huntington. “If Not Civilizations, What?
Paradigms of the Post-Cold War World”
published in the Foreign Affairs, Volume 72 N. 5.
Militant Islam not only rejects the principles of the Enlightenment; it considers life in a free society a direct threat to the core values of its faith. As distinct from those who envy the West and seek to emulate its economic success, militant Islam views Western society as decadent and sinful, as an enemy to be fought so as to purify life, protects the family, and be deserving of ascent to heaven.
-Richard Schifter. “Is there a Democracy Gene?”
published in the Washington Quarterly, Summer 1994.
There are no situations which are insurmountable, and alternative choices always exist. Capitalist globalization such as is being offered at this time of crisis, as a means of managing it, is not in itself a way of resolving the crisis. Conversely, neither does ‘rejection’ of globalization constitutes nor adequate response. ‘Rejections’, apparent only by the ways in which they are expressed the turning back to ethnicity, and religious fundamentalism- become integrated into this brutal globalization and are made use of by it. Delinking is not to be found in these illusory and negative rejections but on the contrary by an active insertion capable of modifying the conditions of globalization.
-Samir Amin. “Capitalism in the Age of Globalization”
published in 1997.
Globalization has reached a turning point. The future is a contested terrain of very public choices that will shape the world economy of the 21st century. The forces behind global economic change- which exalt deregulation, cater to corporations, undermine social structures, and ignore popular concerns- cannot be sustained. Globalization is leaving perilous instability and rising inequality in its wake. It is hurting too many and helping too few.
-Jay Mazur. “Labor’s New Internationalism”
published in the Foreign Affairs January/February 2000
As they search for growth, multinational corporations will have to compete in the big emerging markets of China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil.
The operative word is emerging. A vast consumer base of hundreds of millions of people is developing rapidly. Despite the uncertainty and the difficulty of doing business in markets that remain opaque to outsiders, Western MNCs will have no choice but to enter them.
-C.K. Prahalad and Kenneth Lieberthal. “The end of Corporate Imperialism”
published in the Harvard Business Review, July-August 1998.
Who will own the 21st century? Not China, America, Japan or India. The giant multinational corporations will hold the power in the 21st century, if present trends continue. The key for governments is to successfully learn how to work with these companies, in ways that will help the people of involved nations. We have found that corporations. When properly approached with comprehensive plans can respond most generously to the needs of a region. And it fits our preferred image, as Americans whether true or not-of a generous nation, brilliant in economics, but with a heart for people as well.
-Ben Boothe. “Who will own the 21st century?”
published in the Span October-December, 1997.
Capitalism proved to be far more flexible and adaptable than socialism in adjusting to the new economic conditions created by technological change in the second half of the twentieth century. In conditions of increasing industrial maturity, capitalism tended to evolve into advanced capitalism, while socialism tended to give way to capitalism, both for purely economic reasons.
-Francis Fukuyama. “Capitalism & Democracy: The missing link”
published in the Journal of Democracy, July 1992.
Of one thing we can be certain. The ideologies of the twentieth century will disappear completely. This has been lousy century. It has been filled with dogmas, dogmas that one after another have cost us time, Suffering, and much injustice.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, newspaper interview,
EL Nuevo Diario of Nicaragua, 25 April 1990.
The Third World War has already started-it is a silent war, not for that reason any less sinister. This war is tearing down practically all the Third World. Instead of soldiers dying, there are children dying; instead of millions wounded, there are millions unemployed; instead of the destruction of bridges, there is tearing down of factories, hospitals, schools and entire economies.
-Brazilian labor leader Lula as quoted in The
“Trauma of the Third World” authored by Roger Burbach,
Orlando Nunez and Boris Kagarlitsky, 1998.
There has been an invasion. The Indian market is flooded with cosmetics, garments, shoes, chocolates, food items et al. Despite the increasing competition and variety, certain brands have stood their ground and commanded loyalty. The cosmetic revolution has been the most vibrant, in terms of colour and spread. Each youngster wants to beat the other to use Maybelleine, Chambor or Revlon. But Lakme is doing as well with its new packaging and marketing strategy.
-Nandini Goswami. “Some brands do have “em”
published in the Pioneer’s USP page recently.
The world is at one of those seminal turning points in history. Communism is dead, socialism is on its way out, and capitalism is not far behind. No one knows just what shape post-capitalist society will take, but there is a good chance that in the process some Third World countries will transform themselves quickly into economic powers.
-Peter F. Drucker. “Is Capitalism Coming to an End?”
published in the Span May 1993.
I may have thought that the road to a world of free and happy human beings shorter than it is proving to be but I was not wrong in thinking that such a world is possible, and that it is worthwhile to live with a view to bringing it nearer.
-Joseph Bertrand Russell “The Autobiography of Bertrand Russel”.
The information revolution and globalization have already established their roots in the contemporary political, economic, social and cultural life. There are “invasions”. There are “revolutions” and most of the time conveying a different meaning and idea, Diverse and at times conflicting in their impact and consequences. The crux of these quotes sound as if we are also living in the “age of extremes”. The obvious question that arises is to what extent these “extremes” are conflicting and whether mankind has some kind of inherent capability to carve out some “middle path” and facilitate smooth sailing of the age of information and how it can happen when there are too many questions and very few answers. Only one thing seems to be sure that history is not going to repeat itself this time. The answer to these ever growing questions is shaping in the womb of the future. In the new age on one can claim monopoly over the truth.
-Amir Samir, (1997) . ‘Capitalism in the Age of Globalization: The Management of Contemporary Society.’
-Blinder Alans, ‘Eight Steps to a New Financial Order’ Foreign Affairs, September/October 1999.
-Booth Ben B. ‘Who will Own the Next Century?’ Span, December-October 1997.
-Burton Daniel F. ‘Competitiveness: Here to Stay’ the Washington Quarterly 1994
-Carlin John, ‘A Farewell to Arms Wired, May 1997.
-Carter Bill and sanlomir Richard. ‘The Trophy in Eismar’s Deal’ New York Times 6 August, 1995.
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