Abstract - The Information Society 25(1)

Beyond harmonization: ICT policymaking in regional economic communities

Carleen Maitland and Annemijn van Gorp

Regional economic communities, which are growing in numbers and size, play an increasingly important role in information and communication technology (ICT) policymaking. As seen through the lens of complex adaptive systems theory, such systems should strive to generate adaptive policies through adaptive policymaking processes that position them to respond to rapid technological change. To date, however, regional policymaking has been overly concerned with policy harmonization as an outcome, possibly to the detriment of other important goals. Despite this bias, upon closer examination, one finds that regional communities do foster adaptivity through their roles in the formation of epistemic communities, capacity building and resource pooling. These activities contribute to variation, interaction and selection, all key processes for adaptation. It is this degree of adaptivity, and its required balance between policy harmonization and competition, that should be the basis for analyzing the effectiveness of regional policymaking.


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