Globalization of IT – Global, and Yet So Restrained

By Waqas Ejaz

Globalization of IT is a complex phenomenon but at the same time it is an undying reality. It neither needs any introduction nor pertains a universal definition. However, the fact of matter is that it actually exists and it has eventually brought us in the historic age of transformation.

Nations and regions of the world have been transformed into a ‘wired planet’ through which you can make use of the great power of information and technology.

Information Technology is the driving factor, rather a catalyst in the process of globalization. Advancements in the early 1990s in computer hardware, software and telecommunications have caused widespread improvements in the access to information and economic potential.

These advances have facilitated efficiency gains in all sectors of the economy. IT provides the communication network that facilitates the expansion of products, ideas, and resources among nations and among people regardless of geographic location. Creating efficient and effective channels to exchange information, IT has been the catalyst for global integration.

In the process of globalization, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been implicated in the structuring and restructuring of human social relations. The power to communicate has been one of the greatest achievements by the human race.

Since, the development of the electrical telegraph and the telephone in the late 1800s marked a qualitative shift in the scope and power of ICTs. However, the new electrical communication systems brought disparate regions and peoples together into an unprecedented, increasingly synchronous global network of information, trade, finance and culture.

In the 20th century, the emerging global telecommunication infrastructure was extended and its uses expanded by the development of radio transmission, satellite communications, and terrestrial broadband networks. More recently, digital encoding, storage, and transmission have allowed for data compression and the convergence of multiple formats into a common digital stream, further accelerating the speed and volume of global information and communication flows.

At the same time, the diffusion of inexpensive personal computers, the development of the graphical user interface, and the establishment of common data exchange protocols have given users around the world direct access to an increasing mass of data, text, and multimedia documents-as well as the power to create and distribute such documents themselves.

I do not want you to focus computers and high tech gadgets to support the concept of globalization. Although, without the invention of the mere computer chip, globalization would have been a dream forever, but, as we can see all around us, the phenomena has gone far beyond from the computer world. Today, we see globalization playing a significant role in trade, commerce and even in our daily social life style.

For the first time in history of the world, the entire planet is a capitalist. Although a few command economies are still surviving and developing, but they are doing so through their linkages with the global capitalist markets. Yet, this is a brand of capitalism that is at the same time very old and also fundamentally new.

It is old because it appeals to relentless competition in the pursuit of profit, and because individual satisfaction is its driving engine. But it is fundamentally new because it is tooled by new information and communication technologies that are at the root of new productivity sources, new organizational forms, and the construction of a global economy.

The world has shrunk due to the pool of globalization created by IT. Things are accessible now and when I say ‘things’, that does not relate to the tangible things only; you can have all kinds of information within your approach and you can even have the most sacred, rather secret data as well (well, that may not be so easy but still it is possible).

Globalization should have been the uniform phenomenon and resources were supposed to be utilized equally around the globe. But unfortunately, it today we have disparity even in the globalization. One can easily witness this unequal distribution of information, resources and other global values that this world has visibly failed to provide any of above mentioned human friendly out comes of globalization to a person living in Sahara desert or in thick woods of South Africa. We have seen medical inventions in developed countries but why globalization has failed to let that child living in South Asian slum not to feel it.

All of this partiality gives the sense of something wrong which has been done while developing the concept of IT globalization and communicating it vociferously. Communication and information technology miracles are happening every day but there are some areas in the African region which are practically numb towards these advancements.

Thus, it shows that we need to move towards some other logical reason to justify this difference. It is possible that we might need to make Information Technology so efficient that it can be dispersed through out the world judiciously. Human beings have created radio when they wanted, they have transfer the technology even beyond the shores of the oceans and they have given life to a dead body by giving him a new heart.

These are the achievements which no one can take away from us. But we need them to be more efficient, more ideal and more accessible by more and more people. In sum, globalization is a new historical reality not simply the one invented by neo-liberal ideology to convince citizens to surrender to markets, but also the one inscribed in processes of capitalist restructuring, innovation and competition, and enacted through the powerful medium of new information and communication technologies but with the absence of impartiality and equal distribution of information and technology.