Abstract - The Informtion Society 6(1-2)

The Impact of the Transfer of Information Technology on Development

Peter Shields and Jan Servaes

Technological optimists of the "modernization paradigm" believe that the transfer of information technologies to developing countries will enhance the process of development. They argue that the transfer of appropriate informationtechnology can contribute to the creation of new social structures that will respond to the developing world's needs. On the other hand, technological pessimists perceive the transfer of information technology as necessarily reinforcing existing structures and, thus, increasing political and economic dependency and the loss of cultural identity. Both positions are partially true, but are based on inadequate theoretical foundations - erroneous conceptions of the nature of technology, its relationship with society, and a misunderstanding of development. With a more appropriate conceptual framework, the transfer of information can play a limited role in the development process.

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