Hello IGNOU’s Buddies. Here is BSOG 73 – Guess Paper for you.
Q. What is the world system theory? BSOG 73 – Guess Paper
Ans. World-system theory is a macrosociological perspective that seeks to explain the dynamics of the ‚capitalist world economy‛ as a ‚total social system‛. Its first major articulation, and classic example of this approach, is associated with Immanuel Wallerstein, who in 1974 published what is regarded as a seminal paper, The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis. In 1976 Wallerstein published The Modern World System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. This is Wallerstein’s landmark contribution to sociological and historical thought and it triggered numerous reactions, and inspired many others to build on his ideas. Because of the main concepts and intellectual building blocks of world-system theory –which will be outlined later–, it has had a major impact and perhaps its more warm reception in the developing world. Where is world-system theory positioned in the intellectual world? It falls at the same time, into the fields of historical sociology and economic history. In addition, because of its emphasis on development and unequal opportunities across nations, it has been embraced by development theorists and practitioners. This combination makes the world-system project both a political and an intellectual endeavor. Wallerstein’s approach is one of praxis, in which theory and practice are closely interrelated, and the objective of intellectual activity is to create knowledge that uncovers hidden structures and allows oneself to act upon the world and change it. ‚Man’s ability to participate intelligently in the evolution of his own system is dependent on his ability to perceive the whole‛ (p. 10). World-system research is largely qualitative, although early on Wallerstein rejected the distinction between nomothetic and idiographic methodologies to understand the world. For Wallerstein, there is an objective world which can be quantitatively understood, but it is, no matter for how long it has existed, a product of history. But to the most part, his methods are associated with history and with interpretive sociology. His work is methodologically somewhere in between Marx and Weber, both of whom were important inspirations for his own work. 1. Immanuel Wallerstein World-system theory has been closely associated with Immanuel Wallerstein, and understanding the intellectual context in which this body of knowledge is positioned, means also understanding Wallerstein, so let us begin by talking about him. 1 greatly benefited from Goldfrank (2000) in structuring Section 1 of this essay. Carlos A. Martinez Vela–ESD.83 – fall 2001 2 Immanuel Wallerstein was born in 1930 in New York, where he grew up and did all his studies. He entered Columbia University, where he obtained his BS, MA and PhD degrees. He remained a faculty member in
Columbia’s Department of Sociology from 1958 to 1971. His passage through Columbia occurred at a time when ‚*Columbia’s+ cosmopolitanism and rebelliousness stood in sharp contrast to the genteel established liberalism of Harvard and Yale. His primary mentor was C. Wright Mills, from whom, according to Goldfrank, Wallerstein learned his historical sensitivity, his ambition to understand macro-structures, and his rejection of both liberalism and, to a lesser degree, Marxism. While being a faculty Member at Columbia, Wallerstein got interested in Africa and along the way, he spent time in Paris. In Paris he was exposed to two major intellectual influences, the Annales group of historians, and also to what by the time were radical political ideas. Paris was the center for political and intellectual radicalism among Africans, Asians and Latin Americans, and the locus of the major challenges to AngloAmerican liberalism and empiricism. In Africa he did field work that exposed him to the Third World, and he wrote his dissertation on the processes of national formation in West Africa. Here, Goldfrank tells us, he started to build his world view of ‚creative selfdestruction‛, of rise and demise. His exposure to the third world had a great impact on his work. In his introduction to The Modern World System, Wallerstein, in a revealing statement, says that ‚In general, in a deep conflict, the eyes of the downtrodden are more acute about the reality of the present. For it is in their interest to perceive correctly in order to expose the hypocrisies of the rulers. They have less interest in ideological deflection.‛ (p. 4). 1.2 Aims Wallerstein’s work developed at a time when the dominant approach to understanding development, modernization theory, was under attack from many fronts, and he followed suit. He himself acknowledges that his aim was to create an alternative explanation (Wallerstein, 2000). He aimed at achieving ‚a clear conceptual break with theories of ‘modernization’ and thus provide a new theoretical paradigm to guide our investigations of the emergence and development of capitalism, industrialism, and national states‛ (Skocpol, 1977, Criticisms to modenization include
- The reification of the nation-state as the sole unit of analysis,
- Assumption that all countries can follow only a single path of evolutionary development,
- Disregard of the world-historical development of transnational structures that constrain local and national development,
- Explaining in terms of ahistorical ideal types of ‚tradition‛ versus ‚modernity‛, which are elaborated and applied to national cases.
In reacting to modernization theory, Wallerstein outlined a research agenda with five major subjects: the functioning of the capitalist world-economy as a system, the how and why of its origins, its relations with noncapitalist structures in previous centuries, comparative study of alternative modes of production, and the ongoing transition to socialism (Goldfrank, 2000; Wallerstein, 1979). 1.3 Building Blocks There are three major intellectual building blocks of world-system theory, as conceived by Wallerstein: the
Annales School, Marx, and dependence theory. These building blocks Carlos A. Martinez Vela – ESD. 83 – Fall 2001 3 are associated with Wallerstein’s life experience and exposure to various issues, theories, and situations. World-system theory owes to the Annales School, whose major representative is Fernand Braudel, its historical approach. Wallerstein got from Braudel’s his insistence on the long term (la longue dureé). He also learned to focus on geo-ecological regions as units of analysis (think of Braudel’s The Mediterranean), attention to rural history, and reliance on empirical materials from Braudel. The impact of the Annales is at the general methodological level. From Marx, Wallerstein learned that
- The fundamental reality if social conflict among materially based human groups,
- The concern with a relevant totality,
- The transitory nature of social forms and theories about them,
- The centrality of the accumulation process and competitive class struggles that result from it,
- A dialectical sense of motion through conflict and contradiction.
Wallerstein’s ambition has been to revise Marxism itself. World-system theory is in many ways an adaptation of dependency theory (Chirot and Hall, 1982). Wallerstein draws heavily from dependency theory, a neo-Marxist explanation of development processes, popular in the developing world, and among whose figures are Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a Barzilian. Dependency theory focuses on understanding the
‚periphery‛ by looking at core-periphery relations, and it has flourished in peripheral regions like Latin America. It is from a dependency theory perspective that many contemporary critiques to global capitalism come from. Other important influences in Wallerstein’s work, still present in contemporary worldsystem research, are Karl Polanyi and Joseph Schumpeter. From the latter comes worldsystem interest in business cycles, nd from the former, and the notion of three basic modes of economic organization: reciprocal, redistributive, and market modes. These are analogous to Wallerstein’s concepts of mini-systems, world-empires, and world-economies. 3. What is a world-system? For Wallerstein, “a world-system is a social system, one that has boundaries, structures, member groups, rules of legitimation, and coherence. Its life is made up of the conflicting forces which hold it together by tension and tear it apart as each group seeks eternally to remold it to its advantate. It has the characteristics organism, in of that is has a lifespan over which its characteristics change in some respects and remain stable in others… Life within it is largely self-contained, and the dynamics of its development are largely internal”. A world-system is what Wallerstein terms a “world economy”, integrated through the market rather than a political center, in which two or more regions are interdependent with respect to necessities like food, fuel, and protection, and two or more polities compete for domination without the emergence of one single center forever (Goldfrank, 2000). Carlos A. Martinez Vela – ESD. 83–Fall
2001 4 in his own first definition, Wallerstein (1974) said that a world-system is a “multicultural terirtorial division of labor in which the production and exchange o basic goods and raw materials is necessary for the everyday life of its inhabitants.” This division of labor refers to the forces and relations of production of the world economy as a whole and it leads to the existence of two interdependent regions: core and periphery. These are geographically and culturally different, one focusing on labor-intensive, and the other on capital-intensive production. (Goldfrank, 2000). The core-periphery relationship is structural. Semi-peripheral states acts as a buffer zone between core and periphery, and has a mix of the kinds of activities and institutions that exist on them (Skocpol, 1977). Among the most important structures of the current world-system is a power hierarchy between core and periphery, in which powerful and wealthy “core” societies dominate and exploit weak and poor peripheral societies. Technology is a central factor in the positioning of a region in the core or the periphery. Advanced or developed countries are the core, and the less developed are in the periphery. Peripheral countries are structurally constrained to experience a kind of development that reproduces their subordinate Dunn and status (Chase- Grimes, (1995). The differential strength of the multiple states within the system is crucial to maintain the system as a whole, because strong states reinforce and increase the differential flow of surplus to the core zone (Skocpol, 1977). This is what Wallerstein called unequal exchange, the systematic transfer of surplus from semiproletarian sectors in the periphery to the high- technology, industrialized core (Goldfrank, 2000). This leads to a process of capital accumulation at a global scale, and necessarily involves the appropriation and transformation of peripheral surplus. On the poltical side of the world-system a few concepts deem highlighting. For Wallerstein, nation-states are variables, elements within the system. States are used by class forces to pursue their interest, in the case of core countries. Imperialism refers to the
domination of weak peripheral regions by strong core states. Hegemony refers to the existence of one core state teomporarily outstripping the rest. Hegemonic powers maintain a stable balance of power and enforce free trade as long as it is to their advantage. However, hegemony due to class is temporary struggles and the diffusion of technical advantages. Finally, there is a global class struggle. The current world-economy is characterized by regular cyclical rhythms, which provide the basis of Wallerstein’s periodization of modern history (Goldfrank, 2000). After our current stage, Wallerstein envisions the emergence of a socialist world-government, which is the only-alternative world-system that could maintain a high level of productivity andchange the distribution, by integrating the levels of political and economic decision-making. 4. Research, Applications, and Prospects The current hub of research on world-systems is SUNY Binghamton, at the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilizations. Although some researchers pursue this approach around the country, it has had its greatest impact among
intellectuals in the third-world, where Wallerstein is regarded a Carlos A. Martínez Vela
– ESD.83 – Fall 2001 5 first-rate intellectual and contributor to the understanding of world-dynamics. Most publications take place in the Journal of World Systems Research, and in the Review published by the Fernand Braudel Center. Within the American Sociological Association, there is a chapter on the Political Economy of the World System. In addition, Wallerstein was president of the International Sociological Association between 1994 and 1998. Although is attention has moved more towards the philosophy of the social sciences, Wallerstein continues to be the major figure in world- system research. After legitimizing historical sociology for its own sake, world-system research has inspired numerous research programs, with perhaps the most notorious one to date the study being of long-term business cycles. In addition, it is an approach widely used to talk about development dynamics and to understand the relationships between the first world and the third world. As an interdisciplinary theory, it has also drawn the attention of scholars from several disciplines in the social sciences: history, anthropology, cultural studies, economic history, and development studies.
Q. What is the perspective of development?
Ans. The concept of development has been used by scholars and practitioners to demonstrate changes for the better in the lives of individuals, communities, nations and regions. Historically, the practice of development has been associated with interventions and categorizations that have had the opposite effect in countries and regions deemed to be developing. Current notions of development predicated on respect for individual rights, human freedoms, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and education have been more successful in achieving improvements in the lives of people. Yet, historic notions of development persist and continue to drive failing projects. This editorial explores the historical notions of development that persist to this day and offers a view of contemporary perspectives on development. As a growing set of development interventions and papers in this issue involve Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the question of why Information and Communication Technology for Development matters. Is addressed in the light of development perspectives.
What is development?
The term Development is used to describe improvements in the lives of people. This can take place in a number of ways and anywhere in the world. Most research in the area of development tends to focus on using the term ‘developing countries’ to restrict its use to a certain category of countries or a part of the world such as ‘Third World’ the ‘Global South’. These terms were created after the Second World War to help international development agencies to create interventions that would take these countries through a European route to development. These terms assume that all countries not considered
developed are homogenous and their only route to be developed was through capitalism (Willis, 2011). In 1960 there were two broad groups of countries, those with low levels of fertility and infant mortality (‘developed’), and those with high fertility rates and infant mortality (‘developing) (Khokhar, 2019).
These terms have done little to help understand how people, organizations and countries grow or achieve improvements in the lives of people. There are differences in income, living standards and opportunities for growth that make these categories unworkable, yet they continue to be used to this day (Khokhar, 2019; Willis, 2011). For example, poverty and high levels of infant mortality can be found in the USA, European countries considered developed as well as in African and Asian countries considered developing. Given the limitations of such a classification the World Bank and World Economic Forum is phasing out the use of the term ‘developing world’ as it is too broad and no longer represents distinctive differences between countries (Khokhar, 2019). It has been argued that poverty was unknown in some countries, such as Colombia, and there was no need for development interventions until Eurocentric norms of development categorized the country as developing in the Global South. Argentina was building the world’s first supersonic aircraft in the 1960s, when it too was categorized as developing in the Global South. Development interventions in the form of aid and technical assistance had the effect of destroying indigenous cultures, threatening the sustainability of natural environments and has created dependency to northern dominated economic and political systems (Escobar, 2011). Technical assistance offered through international agencies to the countries deemed ‘developing’ increased their dependency on the countries that offer the technical assistance. Easterly refers to the ‘tyranny of experts’ in which the fight against global poverty has in fact increased global poverty. He states that by trampling on the individual freedoms that crush entrepreneurship and opportunities to lead better lives, the technical assistance creates more poverty and offers greater power to autocrats and dictators who violate the rights of the poor (Easterly & Easterly, 2006).
A form of technical assistance that has become popular among international agencies is in Information and Communication Technology for Development also referred to as ICT4D. There has been sense that poverty can be eliminated through a neo-liberal agenda that promotes free market trade through administrative reform. In particular, ICT implementation projects are seen as a central component in this development agenda. This agenda is based on a monetary definition of poverty that is absolute and a belief that economic development can eliminate poverty. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals and subsequently the Sustainable Development goals are focused on eliminating poverty. Within this development agenda, increased emphasis is given to the role of ICTs in eliminating poverty through economic growth and democracy (Heeks, 2017; Unwin & Unwin, 2009). The Declaration of Principles of
the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) states that the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is needed for alleviating poverty. The WSIS action lines add ICT applications for each of the Sustainable Development Goals (WSIS, 2019). Despite the increased importance of ICT use in development contexts, it is not clear if or how ICTs can actually alleviate or eliminate poverty. The notion that ICTs can be used to achieve socio-economic development is an important one and the subject of many studies, especially those published in this Journal. The implicit assumption that people will use ICTs to alleviate poverty or ICTs implementations should lead to socio- economic development in a country or region may not hold in many circumstances. Successful cases of ICT implementations tend to be independent of international development agency interventions or academic research. Harris (2016) adds that ‘despite claims in published accounts that research findings will be useful in guiding governments, aid agencies, NGOs and communities toward desirable outcomes with ICT4D projects, little evidence that this actually happens is offered. Although published journal papers in ICT4D often close with the author’s reflection that their findings can inform professional practice and policy reform, rarely is it reported how it is intended to bring such changes about’ (page 5). For example, the adoption of mobile payments took off in Kenya as a result of innovations by telecom companies. Mobile payment technologies such as MPesa have given people the freedoms to lead better lives. Entrepreneurship in the slums has enabled people to lift themselves out of poverty. Using cell phones and the use of the internet to acquire knowledge and skills have given them the capabilities to improve their lives. These examples of anecdotal evidence suggest that sharper concepts of development that involve ICT adoption and use in practice that informs policy are needed. The following section offers contemporary perspectives on development that may enable researchers to offer contributions that benefit policy and practice.
Contemporary perspectives on development: The concept of development draws upon a number of disciplines including economics, government, sociology and international relations. Zheng, Hatakka, Sahay, and Andersson (2018) suggest that the discourse on how ICTs effect development has been largely static and offer a perspective of development they call the theory of change. They conceptualize dimensions of development to be discourses on short and medium-term goals and long-term societal transformation. They suggest that individuals are agents of change. Human agency is key for the use of ICTs for achieving development outcomes. In fact human agency may involve the use of ICTs that lead to negative development outcomes. Research into such cases is also very valuable to understanding the varied relationships between ICTs and development outcomes. A well-known perspective on development is an economic one that considers growth in levels of income generated by individuals, businesses or multi- national organizations, countries and regions. Economic Development is defined as ‘the
interruption of the business cycle’ according to Schumpeter (1935) and is often used to describe growth in organizations and the regions in which they reside. The outcomes from the adoption of ICT on development can be assessed in a number of ways. The measures of economic development in micro-enterprises most often used are: increase in income, job creation and clientele (Qureshi, Kamal, & Wolcott, 2009).
Another lens often used to understand improvements in the lives of people is Social Development. This is a concept in social science explores how reality is constituted in the development process (Arce, 2003). The social development perspective enables a broader understanding of development to be achieved through top-down national policy-making processes as well as bottom-up, ‘micro level’ traditions like the actor- network approaches, which works upwards from individual-level actions (Arce, 2003). Social development activities are designed to raise living standards, increase local participation in development and address the needs of vulnerable and oppressed groups (Midgley, 2003). This concept is often equated with government programs that offer healthcare, education, environmental protection and other public services. The growth and well-being of people can be measured in terms of social and human development. While social development efforts related to building and working with institutions of government, healthcare, finance and the environment/agriculture, the concept of Human Development is about enlarging individual people’s choices so that they may have the freedom to pursue the lives they value (Sen, 2013). In this, income is seen to be an instrument of this freedom to pursue their well-being. Sen argues that there need to be a broad set of conditions that include access to food, shelter, health and education that together constitute well-being (Sen, 2013). While well-being may vary considerably between individuals, indicators to measure well-being include the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI), the Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Human Poverty Index (HPI). These perspectives are illustrated in Figure 1 below: Display full size: Researchers often isolate each of these perspectives and investigate them as lenses to explore development phenomena. Yet, these perspectives are in fact inter-connected. It has been argued that human capital is one of the key determinants of competitiveness and economic growth (Barro, 2001; Romer, 1990). In particular, human capital is a key determinant of per capita income (Barro, 2001). Others have suggested that role of human capital as an important factor in promoting higher investment in technology with positive impact on growth (Aghion, Howitt, Howitt, Brant-Collett, & García-Peñalosa, 1998; Kottemann & Boyer-Wright, 2009; Samoilenko & Ngwenyama, 2011). At the same time, social development in the form political and social stability is seen to be a prerequisite for economic and human development. Amartya Sen’s work has been very influential in that human freedoms and capabilities are needed for economic opportunities to be taken. For development efforts to be sustainable both social and economic dimensions need to work together. Since the resources of the world
are finite, social capital is needed to ensure that resources are used in the most productive manner. Social Capital refers to the ways in which economic actors interact and organize themselves, magnifying the production resulting from the use of a combination of capital: physical, natural and human (Sen, 2013). Like human capital, social capital is both an input and an output of the development process. Like technology, social capital is more than an input to production, it shifts the entire production function by increasing the productivity of all other inputs.
Q. Why does studying ICT for development matter?
ICT for development matters for Information Systems (IS) researchers as it offers a dynamic perspective that enables an understanding beyond the organizational context. IS is most commonly understood as the process of designing and implementing Information Systems within organizational contexts. Yet the adoption, use and implementation of IS going beyond the organization. The effects of the adoption, use and implementation of IS and Information and Communication Technologies comprise a different use of the term Development. In this sense, Development is an improvement in the lives of people through economic, social and human conditions of a group of people, community and/or region.
ICT for Development is the implementation, use/adoption and/or diffusion of Information and Communication Technologies that lead to improvements in the lives of people through economic, social and human conditions of a group of people, community and/or region. Outcomes from the adoption and diffusion of ICTs lead to changes in the economic conditions of people, countries and regions. Understanding the outcomes from the adoption and diffusion of ICTs matters for Information Systems researchers because it helps understand the effects of the implementations. Researching the outcomes of IS implementations at a societal level has some advantages for IS scholars. Majchrzak, Markus, and Wareham (2016) suggest that the IS field would do well to include in our collective definition of theory two types of theoretical contributions that they call the theory of the problem and the theory of the solution. They believe that the IS field would do well to include theoretical contributions that contribute to our understanding of societal problems. It appears that scholars need to assemble their different understandings of how and why a problem occurs from theories and empirical findings. Researchers need to go beyond conceptualizations to theoretical models or theories of solutions to these societal problems.
The use of ICTs for data analytics, health care, and security have enabled greater opportunities for achieving improved development outcomes. For example, Venkatesh, Rai, Sykes, and Aljafari (2016) report on the use of eHealth kiosks that assist mothers in accessing information and services to help them with childbirth and post-natal care. These kiosks are supported by healthcare workers who can facilitate communication of complex health-related information in ways that villagers, who may not be literate, can
more easily understand, by using multimedia content (Venkatesh et al., 2016). This project leads to improved health outcomes through a reduction in infant mortality. Yet, there is a dark side to the use of ICTs (see Tarafdar et al) that has the potential of negative implications for economic social and human development. For example, Nigeria has been the beneficiary of development aid including large amounts ICT investments has brought about a large group of trained tech-savvy individuals. In recent years, the tech-savvy who have not had the opportunities they need to lead better lives have chosen to use the internet to scam people around the world for their money. In some cases innocent people have traveled to Nigeria with cash and lost their lives. In view of such dangers investments and tourism income have declined leading to further reduction in incomes. Such countries have found themselves in negative economic cycles as they use ICTs in creative ways. The key challenge in studying ICTs and their relationship to development is that this is a broad issue which is pervasive and often studied in isolated ways. The papers in this issue attempt to investigate these issues.
Papers in this issue: The three perspectives on development discussed above are reflected in the papers in this issue. For sustainable development to take place, economic, social and human development must take place together and where possible, in synchrony with each other. The papers in this issue investigate phenomena that matter in ICT4D research through the three perspectives. Often more than one of these perspectives is reflected in a single study. The categories below are intended to offer the greatest benefit in understanding the contributions to development that each of these papers make.
Economic development: The first paper in this issue is co-authored by Hasan Nuseibeh, Alan Hevner and Rosann Collins entitled ‘what can be controlled: actionable ICT4D in the case of Palestine.’ The authors identify the factors that can motivate or inhibit ICT opportunities in Palestine to grow a sustainable economy. They build an ICT4D decision framework that provides a three-dimensional view based on
- Key factors (e.g. infrastructure, policies),
- The ICT supply chain, and
- Stakeholders (e.g. industry, government, academia).
This framework is applied to the case of Palestine. They use secondary and primary data to understand how both controllable and non-controllable country characteristics have contributed to or inhibited the growth and development of an ICT sector. Results from extensive secondary data sources demonstrate the usability of the framework to analyze the current setting of the ICT sector, in addition to help investigate a range of possible opportunities for action. They perform a targeted set of interviews with academic, industrial, and governmental sources who are experts in the Palestinian ICT arena and carry out an exploratory study that focuses on key controls and impacts for future development of the ICT economy. The outcomes of this research have the ability to
frame and inform economic development decisions that could define the future of the Palestinian state. The second paper entitled ‘Sun Evolution of the Linkage Structure of ICT Industry and its Role in the Economic System: The Case of Korea’ is co-authored by Pil Sun Heo and Duk Hee Lee. When assessing the structural role of an industry sector within an economic system, considering its relationship to other sectors is crucial. Among others, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, one of the innovation accelerators or key engines of economic growth, is evaluated. The authors analyze inter-industry production inducement linkages within a qualitative input– output analysis framework, since it is useful for understanding the key structure of an economic system. Their purpose is to understand the significant spillover structure of the Republic of Korea’s ICT industry within the national production system, as it has played an important role in the national economy and grown dramatically over the years. The findings from the structural analysis, are as follows: First, ICT manufacturing showed a higher degree of heterogeneity than ICT service sectors in its sensitivity effects structure, an indication that this sector needs to be utilized in various other industries. Second, the spectrum of industries having significant production inducement linkages with the ICT industry is limited and furthermore, the influence effects of the ICT manufacturing sector diminished considerably although the ICT industry’s sensitivity effects increased. Finally, intra-industry linkages within the ICT industry are gradually strengthened especially between ICT services and manufacturing. These findings call for sustained policy efforts to promote the virtuous circle in the overall inter-industry production inducement system, by increasing the utilization of products and services from other sectors by ICT sectors (especially ICT manufacturing) as well as the application of ICT in other sectors.
Mei Ling Wang and Chang Hwan Choi co-author the third paper in this issue entitled ‘How information and communication technology affects international trade: a comparative analysis of BRICS countries’ The authors suggest that Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are collectively referred to as BRICS countries. The development of these countries is changing the international economic order and they have a deep influence on international economic and political patterns. This study analyzes how information and communication technology (ICT) influences international trade volume. A comparative analysis of BRICS countries using panel data from the 2000 to 2016 period, showed that (1) the effect of ICT was more positive on exports than imports, (2) the higher the ICT levels in the value chain were, the less effective they simultaneously were on both exports and imports, (3) the effect of ICT levels on trade increased over time, and (4) ICT improvement levels have more positive effects on trade in labor-intensive countries than on resources-intensives BRICS countries. To improve their export volume, BRICS countries would benefit from increasing their use of fixed- broadband and the internet. To improve their import volume, BRICS countries should
encourage their citizens to use mobile-cellular phones. Atika Kemal is the author of the paper entitled ‘Mobile Banking in the Government-to-Person Payment Sector for Financial Inclusion in Pakistan.’ The author states that whilst there has been growing interest and efforts by governments to disburse digital government-to-person (G2P) payments to promote financial inclusion, the role of mobile banking in the receipt of social cash remains under-researched. Through an interpretive case study of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in Pakistan, this paper applies Orlikowski’s Duality of Technology that critically examines mobile banking usage by women beneficiaries and technology’s effects on the institutional properties of their households. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews from participants located in Pakistan. The findings highlighted that mobile banking enabled women to receive the full amount of grants, securely and conveniently, from agents. However, mobile banking imposed human, socio-economic and technological constraints which restricted women’s access to and usage of financial services that limited financial inclusion. This paper theoretically contributes to the Duality of Technology framework that was deterministic for women beneficiaries. The study accentuates the redesign of mobile banking to match women’s c apabilities, and imparting financial and digital training to them. Also, the provision of a range of financial resources to beneficiaries may steer micro-entrepreneurial activities to advance the inclusion agenda in Pakistan.
Social development: Simplice Asongu and Jacinta Nwachukwu co-author their paper entitled ‘The Role of Openness in the Effect of ICT on Governance’. This paper addresses both social and economic perspectives on development. Their study investigates how openness influences information and communication technology (ICT) penetration for improved government quality in sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2000–2012. Openness is measured in terms of trade and financial globalization whereas ICT is proxied with mobile phone and internet penetration rates. Ten bundled and unbundled governance indicators are used. The empirical evidence is based on a Generalized Method of Moments with forward orthogonal deviations. There are four main findings. First, financial openness has an edge over trade openness when combined with ICT to affect both economic and institutional governance. Second, mobile phones have an edge over internet penetration in complementing (i) trade openness for economic governance and
(ii) financial openness for institutional governance. Third, net effects on political governance are consistently negative. Taken together, in the short-run, openness-driven ICT policies are more rewarding in terms of economic and institutional governance than political governance. Fourth, catch-up in governance is facilitated by the interaction between openness and ICT. These findings have implications for the literature. Yvonne Ai-Chi Loh and Arul ChibChib, co-author their paper entitled ‘tackling social inequality in development: Beyond access to appropriation of ICTs for Employability’. Their study investigates social inequality by studying the impact of ICTs upon the vulnerable
unemployed and under-employed in Singapore. First, drawing upon Amartya Sen’s capability approach, they operationalize the dependent variable as self-perceived employability, conceptualized as both a measure of well-being and a livelihood capability. Second, they employ Neil Selwyn’s digital divide hierarchical impact assessment framework, to define and measure the ICT assets of access, usage, and appropriation. Primary data was gathered from 302 under-employed and unemployed workers in Singapore. Regression analyses revealed that higher-order hierarchies of ICT usage and appropriation were associated with the dependent variable of employability, while access was not. They discuss the implications for development discourse in regions with ubiquitous access, advocating for policymakers to focus on ICT training. Furthermore, they offer nuanced findings on vulnerability in developed economies as an enhancement to mainstream ICT4D scholarship, focused exclusively on poverty alleviation. Kassen, Maxat is the author of the paper entitled, ‘Open Data and e- Government – Related or Competing Ecosystems: a Paradox of Open Government and Promise of Civic Engagement in Estonia’. The article analyzes an open data movement in an unusual context of highly developed digital economy and widespread popularity of e-government services in a country that is universally well-known as one of the global leaders in promoting information society and electronic democracy, but paradoxically demonstrating modest results in propagating a presumably related concept of open government data. In this regard, paying special attention to the investigation of main drivers, stakeholders and challenges of the open data movement in Estonia, the author argues that a highly centralized administrative policy that has been widely used previously by authorities in advancing various technology-driven public reforms, which partly explains a truly impressive advance of this Nordic state in e-government, e- commerce, e-banking and e-voting, does not necessarily lead to same effective results in the open data domain. On the contrary, the presence of established democratic institutions and developed civil society as well as an incredibly advanced and dynamic private ICT industry that values competition and professional curiosity along with a very strong sense of patriotism and adherence to a particular neighborhood deeply rooted in Estonian society has played a much more important role in diffusing the concept rather than just traditional government directives and strategies.
Human development: Julia Bello-Bravo, Ousseina Abdoulaye Zakari, Ibrahim Baoua and Barry Robert Pittendrigh co-author their paper entitled ‘Facilitated discussions increase learning gains from dialectically localized animated educational videos in Niger’. Their study measures the knowledge transfer and appeal of information and communication technologies (ICTs) used to deliver education for sustainable development (ESD) content to farmers in Niger experiencing major crop losses from the insect pest Maruca vitrata. ICT–ESD content consisted of two dialectically localized and animated videos that address food security problems of cowpea insect herbivory and
the shortage of integrated pest management strategies in rural Niger. Comparing pre- test/post-test knowledge transfer for both animated videos when either (1) watched alone (AVO), or (2) in conjunction with a facilitated group discussion prior to post- testing (AVD), results from 90 farmers in 3 rural Nigerien villages showed statistically significant knowledge transfer in both AVO and AVD groups and still greater gains in the AVD group. Importantly, while a majority of participants expressed a preference for learning from such animated videos and a willingness to share their new knowledge and the videos with others, this finding did not statistically significantly associate with education level, supporting the idea that AVO/AVD is an inclusive strategy for low- literate learners within developing-nation contexts. Recommendations and theoretical implications for ICT–ESD implementations in resource-limited areas are discussed. Suk Kyoung Kim, Min Jae Park and Jae Jeung Rho co-author their paper entitled ‘Does Public Service Delivery through New Channels Promote Citizen Trust in Government? The Case of Smart Devices’. The authors suggest that it is important for governments to understand the factors that influence effective utilization of new service channels, particularly the use of smart devices. Furthermore, how the utilization of a new channel affects trust in the government is an important performance factor whose linkage mechanism also needs to be investigated. Their study collected 417 questionnaires from Korean citizens who communicate with the government via smart devices; the questionnaires were analyzed using structural equation analysis. They found that in order to maximize trust in government, service delivery via smart devices must be designed with a clear understanding of the three significant components of such communication, namely the service, channel, and citizens. The service selected must be appropriate to the characteristics of the channel, and service reform may be necessary, beyond using the channel simply as a service means. Citizens’ ability to utilize the channel must also be fully considered. In order to increase the efficacy of new channel utilization, fast implementation is less important than understanding how to satisfy citizens’ needs regarding use of the public service via a smart device.
Acknowledgements: The editor-in-chief thanks former Management Information Systems (MIS) Quarterly editor-in-chief, Carol Saunders, for her thoughtful discussions and valuable feedback on many versions of this editorial. Continued contributions to inter-disciplinary fields are essential in enabling research in this Journal to have societal impact and offer improvements in the lives of people.
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