Road Maps towards an information society in Latin America and the Caribbean

ECLAC books N. 72. United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.


The concept of an "information society" refers to a paradigm which is profoundly changing the world in which we live at the beginning of this new millennium. This transformation is being driven primarily by new ways of creating and disseminating information using digital technologies. Information flows, communications and coordination mechanisms are being digitized in many different sectors of society, and this process is gradually giving rise to new ways of organizing society and production. While this form of "digital conduct" is becoming an increasingly global phenomenon, it has its origins in what are, for the most part, mature industrial societies. Indeed, the adoption of this technology-based paradigm is strongly correlated with a society's degree of development. However, technology is not only the child of development (as it derives from the development process), but is also, to a large extent, its parent (since it is also a tool for development).Viewed from the perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean, the question of how to employ this emerging paradigm to achieve broader development goals and to integrate the region more fully into the global information society is an issue of paramount importance. In order to tackle the challenging task of integrating the paradigm of the information society into the development agenda, ECLAC is seeking to address three key questions: 

– First of all, what kind of "information society" is desired? Based on an analytical framework developed by ECLAC for the consideration of the many complex issues involved in the construction and operation of an information society, it is of vital importance to determine the purpose and aims of all lines of action oriented towards the transition to an information society. The first chapter of this study lays the groundwork for such an analysis.

– Secondly, what are the basic characteristics and specific traits of the transition towards an information society in Latin America and the Caribbean? In order to understand what current and future paths the region can choose to follow in making the transition to an information society, the second chapter reviews some of the specifically regional features of the current process. 

– Thirdly, what policies can be used to support the transition towards an information society? The third and final chapter proposes an agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean in the transition to an information society.