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The digital economy.

The Digital Economy: Business Organization, Production Processes and Regional Developments

Edward J. Malecki and Bruno Moriset

(New York: Routledge, 2008), 274 pages.

In The Digital Economy: Business Organization, Production Processes and Regional Developments, professors of geography Edward J. Malecki and Bruno Moriset examine and chronicle the judicious use, management and global impact of digital and information technology. They focus on the impact of hardware, software applications and telecommunications on how economic agents such as businesses, governments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and the media interact globally based on the administration and distribution of digital technology and information.

Malecki and Moriset set the tone of their work by describing a world that operates in a digitally interconnected economic space, and in which the geography of a particular business is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to locate. As digital technology continuously grows and changes at an extremely rapid pace, the management of such an economy proves challenging. Ultimately, this creates an economic space where the unequal global distribution of digital access, tools, information, employment and applications are problematic. This is particularly evident in the discourse on the digital divide. In examining the digital divide, Malecki and Moriset find that developed nations use fiber optics, while developing nations for the most part use satellite communications, though a trend toward satellite has emerged in some developing countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Pakistan, India and Indonesia.

Moreover, cities in Africa and the Caribbean lag behind the rest of the world in this digital economic space. Malecki and Moriset illustrate that in Africa and the Caribbean, there are no cities leading in terms of global Internet bandwidth, while leading broadband nations such as Ireland, Canada, Korea, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Australia and China have international broadband initiatives where public sector policy and private sector investments converge. Without broadband, it is extremely difficult for Africa and the Caribbean to be an integral part of the global digital economic sphere and benefit from its positive externalities such as economic growth, employment opportunities, development of transportation and infrastructure, access to health care and information, and the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

As evident in China's rejection of Google, each country has its own laws and compliance system around the digital economy. Missing in the text is discussion of the governance of digital economic space locally or globally. Moreover, aside from social isolation, the authors did not consider other moral hazards that have been attributed to digital technology, such as addiction to gambling and digital games, overuse of credit cards, illegal procurement of prescription drugs and pornography. Also absent from this work is a discussion of the threat of cyber war or cyber terrorism, and the application of an analytical model to frame an examination of the business organization, production processes and regional developments as they relate to the digital economy.

Nonetheless, by applying a geographic approach, the authors pungently synthesize the many layers of the digital economy. The text offers a clear and substantive illustration of the many variables that impact the digital economy, a topic of poignant interest and one that merits ongoing dialogue.
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Title Annotation:The Digital Economy: Business Organization, Production Processes and Regional Developments
Author:Delices, Patrick
Publication:Journal of International Affairs
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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