Abstract - The Information Society 4 (3)

Telematics, Public Policy, and Economic Development with Special Reference to Brazilian Protectionism

Ralph Edfelt

New communications and information processing technologies could help promote economic development, but developing countries' concern about information technology dependence has inspired some controversial national public policy actions. An examination of Brazil's policy in the area of telecommunications and information processing services focuses on: 1. the extent of the policy's possible effect on public access to communications resources, 2. whether it is necessary or possible to have a genuinely ''national'' technology and an independent national production capability in this sector, and 3. the inevitable divergence of interest between the broad public need for access to information resources and the desire for a national production capability. The analysis suggests that Brazil's increasingly protectionist telematics policy is detrimental to its information users' long-term interests and that a more open market ultimately would promote conditions more likely to satisfy both users' and producers' interests.

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