In this book Ernest Wilson provides a clear, nuanced analysis of the major transformations resulting from the global information revolution. He shows that the information revolution is rooted in societal dynamics, political interests, and social structure. Using the innovative Strategic ReStructuring (SRS) model, he uncovers links between the big changes taking place around the world and the local initiatives of individual information activists, especially in developing countries. Indeed, Wilson shows that many of the structural changes of the information revolution, such as shifts from public to private ownership or from monopoly to competition, are driven by activists struggling individually and collectively to overcome local apathy and entrenched opposition to reform.
Wilson applies his SRS model to the politics of Internet expansion in Brazil, China, and Ghana to illustrate the real-world challenges facing policy-makers and practitioners. Examples of such challenges include starting Internet companies, reforming regulatory laws, and formulating NGO strategies for dealing with the digital divide. Wilson identifies the tremendous possibilities for innovation and advancement in developing countries while acknowledging the structural, institutional, and cultural constraints that work against their realization.
"This book is critical for anyone interested in why inequality persists in the spread of global networks. Ernest Wilson shows that politics, institutions, and power structures matter enormously for the diffusion and use of ICTs in developing countries. Amplifying the roles that political culture, social networks, and elites play in the process, he shows why the interconnection of institutions, values, and behaviours is essential for achieving effective participation in knowledge societies. Ultimately, reducing today's digital divides requires much more effective ICT investment. This book demonstrates that we have precious little evidence that this will be achieved on the basis of existing initiatives."
—Robin Mansell, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science
"Information technology has captured the imagination of the international community as an agent of change in the developing world. It will take the kind of leadership Wilson is highlighting, advocating, and himself demonstrating with The Information Revolution and Developing Countries to turn this promise into a reality."
—Zo" Baird, President, Markle Foundation
"Can the information revolution really knit the globe together? Or will developing countries be left behind in an ever-widening digital divide? If these vital questions interest you, Ernest Wilson's book is critical reading."
—Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University