“Hyper-digitalized” vs. “Under-connected”

Since the down of the history, there has always been inequality between the nations. This inequality, however, has been  felt much stronger this time while the standarts and opportunities in certain geographies has been changed due to technological and scientific developments and others could not actualize this upward trend at all.  According to UNCTAD’s Digital Economy Report, “the world is characterized by a yawning gap between the under-connected and the hyper-digitalized countries.” 

In this article, as the first episode of the serie, we will analyze the “yawning gap” between the nations with regarding the socio-economic and other disruptive impacts of the technology. Then we can move to international policy suggestions in the next episode.

To understand the picture of today, we need to a little bit travel in time and see 2 braking points one of which was in Germany in the 15th century and the other was in the Emprire on which the sun never sets in the 17th Century…

As you may assume, the first one is the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1444. That was, seriously a breaking point because until that time all books and any other written material had been written manually by transcribblers  and hence, it was taking a lot of time to write a book. Accordingly, at those days, accessing any kind of  written material- in other words, information- was extremely expensive and kind of meaningles for the majority while they were illiterate. In such a scenario, only an elite minority group (members of the kingdoms or empires, aristocrats and landlords) was able to access the information and if needed they were (re)using it according to their wills and needs towards the society.

With the invention of Gutenberg, one great obstacle in front of the development had started to diminished. The importance of this invention was extremely obvious to the west Europe and thus it had been spreaded over the Europe in the same century.

On the other hand, the same invention was not welcomed at some geographies either. The Ottoman Empire, which was covering Anatolia, middle east, Balkans and some parts of Africa and even Europe banned the use of printing press machine with the command of the Sultan Bayezid 2nd. Consequently printing press could not been used until the 18th Century in the lands of the Ottoman Empire. Because that invention was leading to a “creative destruction” it was “normal” for rulers or minor groups that benefit from them were hesitating for the widespread use of this technology.

Nevertheless, the process was moving forward and from now on it was impossible to prevent the flow which was going to carry us to today’s world…

As mentioned before, printing press was causing a “creative destruction” since it was the most important disruptive technology of those days. Since the publishing was not extremely difficult, expensive and not taking too much time, many people had started to publish and share their ideas, inventions, and artworks and that of course, raised the need of protecting “IP” rights which will afterwards trigger the Industry Revolution.

The second destination in our time travel is to mid-17th century



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Acemoglu D., Robinson J.A., Why Nations Fail, (2012).

Acemoglu, Laibson, List, Macroeconomy, (2015).

UNCTAD, Digital Economy Report, (2019).

Acemoglu, Robinson, The Narrow Corridor, (2019).

Published by Ece Su Ustun

Lawyer & Researcher Bilkent University (B.A) & University of California, Berkeley (LL.M)

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