Abstract - The Information Society 2 (1)

Information, Organization, and Development Policy

Donald McLean Lamberton

Economic modeling has yet to incorporate a balanced view of information as a resource, even though economic systems have become increasingly information-intensive. The assumption that more information is better has dangerous consequences because it usually lacks a typology of information, it assumes that expected productivity increases are achieved, and it neglects both equity aspects and the need to search for more appropriate forms of organization. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) program UNISIST is examined to illustrate these consequences and to argue the relevance of the emerging information economics. The purpose of UNISIST was to create a flexible world network of information systems and services based on voluntary cooperation; it began in 1971. UNISIST was based on: 1. free interchange among all countries of scientific information, 2. effective interconnection of information processing systems in different countries, 3. assistance for countries desiring access to scientific documentation services, and 4. development of skills for the use of automatic systems. UNISIST created an illusion of neutrality. Individual differences received inadequate attention, and the program's users were not identified. Overall, inequalities were accentuated rather than minimized.

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