Eric D. Carlson
This issue draws its material from the Networked World: Information Technology and Globalization international conference held April 24 and 25, 2003 at Santa Clara University, presented by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, and sponsored by Applied Materials, Inc. The conference was held as part of the university’s year-long Institute on Globalization. The first day of the Conference consisted of four keynote dialogs (Cultural Dimensions of a Networked World, Growing Disparities, New Global Roles for Cities and Regions, and Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid) featuring academic, government, and business leaders. The second day consisted of two special sessions, one on The Case of Mexico as a Developing Nation and the other on Legal Challenges.
The first article in this issue draws from the keynote dialog on New Global Roles for Cities and Regions. Jim Koch and Uri Savir discuss the impact of rapid technological change, particularly electronic networks, on “glocalism,” defined as a process for linking and governing the benefits of globalization to local situations. Significant “glocal” issues that affect the major cities and regions of the world include economic growth, privatization, poverty, migration and social cohesion, and peace. The authors identify the need for a better balance between the global forces of technology and economic growth, and local needs and identities.
The next two articles come from the special session on The Case of Mexico as a Developing Nation, and call to our attention a series of related issues and problems arising from advances in science and technology. Javier Elguea offers a macro-level perspective on the challenges facing all developing countries, including ways to conceptualize and address the “digital divide.” Elguea’s core argument is that we need to distinguish poverty from inequality, and that trying to solve both problems at the same time is not only impossible but also misguided. Manuel Gándara shares “lessons from the field” gleaned from several projects carried out in Mexico. Gándara’s article probes in depth the question of access and the strategies employed most often to bridge “digital divides.” Both articles examine our assumptions about the impact of globalization on developing countries.
The fourth article, from the special session on Legal Challenges, deals specifically with the challenge of “e-waste.” Chad Raphael examines the efforts to control the growing global problems of ecological and health impacts of the waste products of information technology. Citing examples from several countries, Raphael documents the key issues and reviews relevant legislation.
Finally, Howard Anawalt presents an overview and commentary of four articles (available as an STS NEXUS Supplement), each of which provides a legal perspective on the effects of networking, especially the Internet, on global intellectual property and information rights.