Fitzsimons, V.G. (2006) Information society: networks, collective action and the role of institutions. International Journal of Humanities, 3 (6). pp. 19-32. ISSN 1447-9508

The knowledge economy and knowledge society depend on the development of networks of communications in
terms of both physical possibilities of national and international infrastructure, and the inclination of individuals to participate
in these. The rapid spread of such technical capacity, and the rise of wireless methods of communications enables
many countries that might previously have been prevented from developing such an infrastructure to rapidly develop capacity.
This physical development has reduced the costs of communications and consequently information, as well as the freedom
to communicate internationally and, implicitly, inter-culturally. It is also recognised, however, that a range of social and
economic factors influence the attitudes of individuals towards such communication, and also the possibilities of collective
action both within and across nations, depending on the economic and social costs and 'payoffs' of such activities. The
growth of low-cost information provision and low-cost international communications using the internet has raised the potential
benefits of such facilities so that it is changing much of the nature of economic interaction in modern, as well as
more traditional societies. Whether or not it will demonstrate a similar significance for the development of and information
society remains to be seen, but parallels can be drawn between such changes and the existing analysis of networks, organisations
and political 'collective action' from the grass roots level. Networks form a significant complement to the existing
media that are also seizing on the potential of this modern technology, and constitute a source of general, or more specifically
valuable information to individuals in society


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