The great equalizer
Very early on, the denizens of the countries in transition have caught on to the “great equalizer” effects of the Net. They used it to vent their frustrations and aggression, to conduct cyber-warfare, to unleash an explosion of visual creativity and to engage in deconstructive discourse.
By great equalizer – I meant equalizer with the rich, developed countries. See the article I quoted above. The citizens of the countries in transition are frustrated by their inability to catch up with the affluence and prosperity of the West. They feel inferior, neglected, looked down upon, dictated to and, in general, put down. The Internet is perceived as something which can restore the balance.
Only, of course, it cannot. It is still a rich people’s medium. President Clinton points out the Digital Divide within America – such a divide exists to a much larger extent and with more venomous effects between the developed and developing world.
the Internet has done nothing to bridge this gap – on the contrary: It enhanced the productivity and economic growth (this is known as “The New Economy”) of rich countries (mainly the States) and left the have-nots in the dust.
The concept of intellectual property – foreign to the global Internet culture to start with – became an emblem of Western hegemony and monopolistic practices. Violating copyright, software piracy and hacking became both status symbols and a political declaration of sorts. But the rapid dissemination of programs and information (for instance, illicit copies of reference works) served to level the playing field.
Piracy of material is quite prevalent in the countries in transition. The countries in transition are the second capital of piracy (after Asia). Software, filmsArticle Submission, even books – are copied and distributed quite freely and openly. There are street vendors who deal in the counterfeit products – but most of it is sold through stores and OEMs.
I think that intellectual property will go the way the pharmaceutical industry did: Instead of fighting windmills – owners and distributors of intellectual property will join the trend. They are likely to team up with sponsors which will subsidize the price of intellectual property in order to make it affordable to the denizens of poor countries. Such sponsors could be either multi-lateral institutions (such as the World Bank) – or charities and donors.
writer, programmer, nerd but with a lot ideas inside me that maybe could change the world.