Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: The Digital Economy

Magazine article Information Management

Book Review: The Digital Economy

Article excerpt

TITLE: The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence



LENGTH: 342 pages

PRICE: $24.95

AVAILABLE FROM: Your local bookstore or

The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence was published in 1996 yet continues to provide a unique glimpse of the future for information management neophytes and veterans alike. Written by Don Tapscott, co-author of the best-selling Paradigm Shift, The Digital Economy extends the typical focus of our profession on electronic data and documents to another level. It deals with the impact of widespread digitization on virtually every part of our lives - the economy, business, government, travel, education, publishing, broadcasting, and advertising. Yet this is not another rose-colored account of some future digital nirvana.

"The dark side of the age of networked intelligence extends beyond the business imperatives for change," contends Tapscott. He starts by addressing the familiar issues of employment displacement, destruction of privacy and the increasing gulf between the very rich and the poor. He also identifies the increasing gaps caused by differential access to the new technology and the economy, the vanishing lines between work and leisure time, and the impact of the new media on the family. Just when the reader is ready to agree that the future looks bleak, he uses these apparent pitfalls as discussion points for the positive evolution of a new society.

The new society begins with a new economy. According to Tapscott, 12 themes are emerging to differentiate the new economy from the old. These same themes inextricably link the new economy, the new organization, and the new technology. Some of these themes are now familiar, such as the globalization of the economy and knowledge management. Others, such as virtualization (i.e., the virtual organization) and molecularization (the replacement of mass production, mass media, and monolithic governments by molecular media, production, governance, etc.) are just now starting to unfold.

One of the most interesting themes for the information manager is the convergence of key economic sectors - computing, communications, and content. This convergence parallels the convergence of organizational structures responsible for computing, communications and content organizations and even the convergence of these same technologies themselves. …

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