Information Technology: A Critical Perspective on its Economic Effects

Information Technology (IT) is commonly seen as the most important motor for growth and economic restructuring in the near future. Visions about massive benefits to be derived from these developments are contrasted by frustration over productivity effects, by uncertainty about impacts on employment, and by concerns about a general ‘information overflow’ in a global network society. The contradictions between enthusiastic forecasts and much more sober outcomes have given rise to a debate on the potential and danger of IT. The present paper intends to add to this debate. Promises of common IT scenarios will be confronted with problem-oriented and critical approaches. The paper proceeds from an analysis of deficits in the current debates towards the identification of new elements of a critical approach in IT research.

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