torsdag 19. mars 2009

Kommunikasjonsteknologi - mot strømmen under krisen?

Økonom, forfatter og journalist Diane Coyle har noen interessante tanker om hvordan kommunikasjons- og nettverksteknologier rammes under finanskrisen. Hun mener både historiske erfaringer og de konkrete nytteeffektene tilsier at spredningen av kommunikasjonsteknologi vil fortsette raskere enn vi skulle vente og at disse delene av næringslivet derfor ikke behøver å bli så hardt rammet.

I en artikkel i The Indepentent skriver Diane Coyle:

"The closest historical parallel to the present events in the financial markets and economy is the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. The 1920s had seen the introduction of several important new technologies, including radios and telephones. In 1920 there were no radio sets in the United States. By 1930, just after the Crash, there were 12 million, and by 1941 30 million, owned by more than 90 per cent of US households. The spread of radio in the UK was even faster, with 2.25 million licences for sets in 1926 and 8.5 million by 1938, representing 98 per cent of the British population. 

Telephone connections displayed a similar, although less dramatic, pattern, with 35 per cent of US households owning a phone in 1930 and nearly 75 per cent by the late 1940s. The share price crashes and subsequent bankruptcies did not halt the spread of compelling technologies; nor did the economic disaster of the Depression and the collapse of international trade. 

These patterns are testament to the value people derive from communications and network technologies. More recent evidence points in the same direction. One example is the spread of mobile telephony in developing countries. Researchers have consistently found that poor people in developing countries spend a surprisingly high proportion of their meagre cash incomes on phone calls. The reason is that mobiles provide their cheapest (or only) access to communications, and usage can save them money by cutting the need to travel, or helping them find better prices, or alternatively raise their incomes."