The IT industry and the information economy
| • The global information matrix|
| • A new industrial revolution?|
| • Defining and measuring the information economy|
This chapter considers the nature of the IT industry today, including the role of producers of hardware (computing and telecommunications) and software, publishers of information, retailers and consultants. This discussion is illustrated by a number of case studies of different IT firms, mostly in the words of the organizations themselves.
The chapter introduces the importance of two kinds of complex global networks. The first is the physical network of electronic communications which links computer systems across the world and enables multi-media connections between people and organizations of all sorts. The growth of this network is considered here; the social and political implications of this development are considered further in later chapters. The second is an economic network or global marketplace. The global IT industry has contributed to the first and is a part of the second. We consider the role of multinational industries and the interdependence between information technology in more detail in the next chapter.
Finally, this chapter considers the importance of information technology in contemporary society as a whole - examining the idea that information and its technology is the dominating characteristic of the age. We examine in more detail the nature of the ‘information economy’ and its implications for levels of employment.