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Faith in the Information Society?

Questioning the foundations

No doubt the advent of the Information Society is as desirable as it is ineluctable. It is being depicted by governments in developed countries as a major source of growth and development which will combat unemployment and increase general well being. Yet will the Information Society, as epitomised by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), be sufficient? The Delors White Paper, it is true, stressed the need to consider societal and social issues. Yet it is more than likely that the Information Society will emerge within the existing market logic paying off little or none of the expected social dividends. There seems to be a tacit agreement amongst actors involved not to question the current economic and democratic system. Clearly the introduction of a whole new way of working requires conviction. Would not questioning the foundations on which the Information Society is to be built undermine the whole edifice? Careful thought about the subject points to an urgent need to take the risk and ask such questions. The longer we wait the harder it will become.

The triumph of short-sighted gains

Major actors in the current economic system adhere less and less to values related to the well being of the population and the planet Earth as a whole. Their attitude is to be seen in the ever increasing tendency to reduce the work-force without redistributing work and riches. Short-sighted gains veil the fact that in the long run the system will only work if everybody has the necessary income and well being to take part in the economy. As governments adopt a similar stance aligning themselves on liberal market values, the State - in the interests of all those people it represents and not just a part of them - is less and less in a position to impose the necessary framework to guarantee such well-being and avoid a catastrophic split between haves and have nots. Much talk is made of globalisation, but if liberal fundamentalism is seen from a truly global perspective it can be seen for what it really is: a smoke screen to conceal personal gain at the expense of all others.

A question of values

Making the right decisions requires an appropriate set of values extending beyond purely material considerations and faith in market mechanisms to fundamental ethical and spiritual considerations. These values exist even if a general consensus about them is lacking. What is needed is the political and administrative framework in which such values can be clarified and turned into action. Political inflation, partly due to the role of media and partly due to failings in the current form of democracy, has led to a devaluation of politics in general, in such a way that political structures no longer seem capable of putting such values into operation ...

Alan McCluskey, Saint-Blaise.

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey, info@connected.org
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Created: May 1st, 1996 - Last up-dated: May 1st, 1996