Abstract - The Information Society 12(3)

Utopian and national competitiveness in technology rhetoric: The case of Japan's information infrastructure

Joel West

The ideologies of technological utopianism and national competitiveness are 2 common strands of 20th century technology policy in developed nations. The former is the tendency to paint an unrealistic picture of schedule or benefits for a planned technological shift, while the latter is the use of a (real or imagined) advantage held by another nation as a justification for domestic policies. Both are techniques that can and have been used to sell technology policies to government, industry, and the publ ic at large. This theoretical framework is used to analyze the emergence of the multimedia/information infrastructure boomlet in Japan in the mid 1990s, and in the context of the country's history and institutions, is used to explain the policy distortion s that resulted.

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