Internetization and Digital Democracy

Internetization and Digital Democracy

Copyright: © 2025 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7366-5.ch045
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This article explores the confluence of two subject areas that are at the forefront of technological change and the evolution of the democratic process. Internetization and digital democracy have emerged as game changers in the 21st century. Internetization has redefined global outreach and electronic connectivity. Digitalization has empowered democracy to explore new frontiers. Both have enhanced the scope and substance of electronic connectivity and digital democracy. Each is carving a large legacy footprint and discovering new operational horizons. Both have the capacity to lead transformational change in two core areas of human engagement.
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Information and communication technologies play a central role in the new world order of the 21st century. The information technology revolution has profoundly altered the structural parameters and the modus operandi of the new global order. More specifically, information and communications technologies have altered the economic landscape, enhanced productivity growth, transformed physical markets into virtual markets, facilitated the collection of data, spearheaded the transmission of ideas, created electronic communities, engaged civil society in electronic discourse and extended the reach of economic, political, and social interactions. Furthermore, scientific advances and technological breakthroughs have contributed to the success of information and communication technologies in effectively shrinking the time and distance that separate geographical mileposts around the world.

Humanity has been empowered by innovations since time immemorial. Contemporary civil society has recognized the important role of innovation in nation building. In consequence, civil society has devoted its resources and public policy focus towards supporting and enhancing the advancement of innovation. At the very heart of the information and communications revolution is the vital process of scientific discoveries and new inventions. There is no denying that the road well-travelled from invention to innovation is long and fraught with many obstacles. It is not unusual for many inventions to be left behind because of obstacles in securing the necessary financial capital or adapting an invention to the economic realities of mass production. Indeed, an invention that is the product of a new idea, extensive research, and a successful laboratory- controlled experiment does not guarantee that it will result in the launch of an innovation. Furthermore, in this modern era individual inventors like Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi who endowed us with path breaking inventions are few and far between. Inventions today are more likely to be the product of a team effort and a concerted research and development initiative of some government laboratory, academic institution, or a major corporation.

The history of science is divided into two schools of thought regarding the process that leads to inventions. The first school subscribes to the notion that inventions are an incremental and marginal process. The second school of thought argues that some inventions are the catalyst for abrupt structural change that permeates the scientific landscape in a tidal wave of operational realignments and technological clustering. Regardless of what school one subscribes to, there is no denying that the great inventions that took place during the industrial revolution between 1860 and 1900 had a profound impact on the economy and personal lifestyle. These inventions included electricity, the internal combustion engine, radio, the telephone, phonograph, motion pictures, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, advances in entertainment, communications, urban sanitation, and travel in the form of air and motor transportation.

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