Michael Gurstein on Sun, 27 Jul 2008 17:35:18 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover

I happened to be in Seoul at what was I guess, roughly the same time as
Brian and had some parallel thoughts on developments there that might be of
interest... (I was attending, as a Civil Society representative, an OECD
Ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy...

(This is taken from a somewhat longer trip report...

2. Canada and the OECD Ministerial
Canada hosted the first event in this series in Ottawa in 1998 and much was
made at various points particularly in the beginning about the Seoul event
being somehow linked to the Ottawa event. Unfortunately for Canada the
comparison between Canada in the Internet economy in 1998 and in 2008 is
something of an embarrassment. Where in 1998 Canada was an active innovator
in a wide range of areas concerning the Internet Economy and (not
incidentally) Society, in 2008 it was clear that Canada had either been more
or less stagnant in the interim period (and thus slipping behind its
international competitors in whatever tables concerning the Internet Economy
one might wish to focus on). 

Where other countries notably in this instance Korea but also the EU had
chosen to provide significant support for infrastructure development and
R&D, Canada had (currently governed by Neo-Liberal ideologues) pretty much
withdrawn from any public involvement in these areas. And where Canada in
1998 had had a very progressive/inclusive national policy approach to
extending participation (and the related benefits of the Internet--Economy
and Society) to all, this had by 2008 disappeared from the public agenda.

The benefits of a public policy approach to broad Internet inclusion are
manifestly obvious in Korea where some 90 per cent of the populations is
Internet connected almost all, with very fast broadband connectivity. This
has proven to be a tremendous spur to various aspects of the Internet
economy including the ever-receding grail of innovation but also to overall
appropriation of the Internet into all aspects of both commercial life and
daily life. Canada by losing sight of the social goals of the extension of
Internet access and use has seemingly as a consequence allowed itself to
drift backwards in those areas.

Michael Gurstein

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