Abstract - The Information Society 7(4)

The Information Economy Approach: Characteristics, Limitations, and Future Prospects

Rene Poirier

Since the early 1970s, expressions like the information economy, society,industries, professions, and workers have been popular in scientific, political, and media discourses. Because few people are familiar with the scientific principles and research that gave rise to these terms, they are used to qualify highly diverse and often contradictory realities or activities. Many researchers define 2 information sectors: 1. an industrial typology to define a primary information sector, which centers on information goods and services sold on the market, and 2. an occupational typology to define a secondary information sector, which is based on information goods and services produced by public and private bureaucracies for internal use. Limitations of the knowledge-information economy approach include: 1. The terminology employed sometimes creates confusion. 2. Certain key concepts are imprecisely defined. To circumvent these limitations, certain changes should be made to the approach. One important change is that the terminology used in research on the information economy must be compatible with the meaning generally given those terms by economists.

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