An examination of the theoretical and empirical interactions between globalization, technology and poverty. Jeffrey James studies the effect of information technology on patterns of globalization and explores how such patterns can be altered to reduce the growing global divide between rich and poor nations. The author first illustrates how the impact of information technology on globalization can be conceptualized in terms of transaction costs, product proliferation and mechanisms of cumulative causation. He finds that globalization tends to benefit a relatively small group of rich individuals, firms and countries. Consequently he suggests policy measures through which information technology can be used to lessen, rather than exacerbate, the digital divide. He goes on to argue that even if the proposed measures are reasonably successful, considerable attention will still need to be paid to conventional technologies and, in particular, to the promotion of technologies that will benefit the poorest groups in the developing nations.
Finally, the author looks in detail at technology policy in sub-Saharan Africa, a region which has profited least by new technologies such as email and the Internet.