Boosting the Social Development of the Majority Through the Creation of a Wireless Knowledge Society

Boosting the Social Development of the Majority Through the Creation of a Wireless Knowledge Society

Danilo Piaggesi (Framericas, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch434
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Abstract

The advances and diffusion of information and communication technology (ICT), combined with the growth of the Internet have led to deep transformations in economic, social and institutional structures. ICT affects the performance of businesses and the efficiency of markets, fosters the empowerment of citizens and communities as well as their access to knowledge, and contributes to strengthening and redefining governance processes at all institutional levels. ICT is at the same time creating enormous opportunities and posing daunting challenges. On one hand, it has the potential to increase productivity and wealth, generate new activities, products and services, and improve the well-being of the population. On the other hand, the uneven distribution of such opportunities can lead to further alienation of marginalized communities and an exacerbation of existing socioeconomic inequalities. This article presents some of the best ICT practices aiming at boosting the social development of the Majority contributing to the creation of a wireless and inclusive Knowledge Society.
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Background

The United Nations Millennium Declaration (United Nations, n.d.) noted that efforts to make internet access available to all and to harness the power of ICT could contribute toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thereby creating “digital opportunities” in development. The ongoing debate on the new set of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reignites the interest for the ICT in a contest of emerging knowledge economies and societies.

The ICT can facilitate the participation of lower income populations, the majority at the base of the pyramid, according to the definition given in (Prahalad, 2005) in the development process by directly tackling relevant aspects, which precisely hinder their integration into social and economic development. Such aspects concern:

  • Limited knowledge and literacy which impairs access to skills and jobs (education);

  • Poor health and sanitary conditions limiting employability and risk-taking attitudes (health);

  • Scarcity of economic opportunities (economy);

  • Limited involvement in civic life and in the democratic processes, as well as uneasy access to public services (government).

The following successful sustainable practices, show how ICT can help reducing the risks of exclusion related to the aspects cited above, thus contributing to the integration of lower income populations into social and economic development. Based on the lesson learned from the practices, we draw some conclusions and offer some recommendations. These recommendations are the basis for forward-looking scenarios that can be realized through the deployment of ICT towards the attainment of an inclusive economic growth process for all, meeting social development and poverty reduction objectives, as expressed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge Society (KS): A society where tacit and explicit knowledge represent its main backbone. In a KS, local and indigenous knowledge are valued; imported knowledge is adopted whenever it could be adapted to local conditions; and new knowledge can be created to serve societal purposes.

Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4DEV): The universe of internet-related applications that in the different sectors of a Knowledge Society (KS), support boosting the living conditions of people, particularly in EE.

Sustainable Development (SD): The set of economic, social, environmental, and institutional conditions that guarantee a constant or increased flux of benefits for the members of a given society. For societal development to be sustainable, such conditions would have to tend towards equity, fair distribution of benefits, and durability in the use of natural and financial resources.

Knowledge Economy (KE): An economy based on knowledge as its principal asset. In a KE, knowledge is the new currency and ICT is a tool to enabling its attainment. Particularly important for emerging economies (EE).

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): The new set of SD United Nations goals to be attained by 2030 in order to improve the living conditions worldwide. In the SDG, ICT4DEV is an enabling common denominator supporting tool.

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