At present, we have devoted an effort to describe the impact of Information and Communication Technologies on income distribution in Thailand. Some concepts have aroused as Digital Development, Information Society, Knowledge-based societies, Network Societies…and above all, the needs to make the evolution of these theoretical constructs measurable. This effort has served many purposes, being the more relevant (a) explaining what was the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Thailand (b) measuring this impact
(c) designing policies to foster positive impacts while reducing negative ones Beyond – or within – general theoretical approaches, applied models have been built to identify the core aspects that made up a particular understanding of the interaction of ICTs and Society, and tried to draw the relationships amongst these aspects. In some cases, the translation of these issues into specific indicators made possible the measurement of the evolution of the digital economy – as understood by each model and the establishment of relationships of cause within models, relationships upon which policies were to be built. In the following pages we identify and analyze what have been the main models to quantitatively describe and measure the digital economy, understood as the results of the process of digitization of society and its economy, and the prior or first stage upon which more complex theories are based upon. First, we focus on the theoretical and methodological proposals for modeling the digital economy. We are particularly interested in their conceptual approach, although some of these models have been applied also in surveys and assessment. When not applied, these models have framed future understandings and designs of more practical models. We secondly switch to cases of actual implementation, that is, sets of indicators and composite indices aimed at measuring the development of the Information Technology. We have deliberately set aside public policies to promote the digital economy for two main reasons. The first one because we want to be as close as possible of what has been really done and not what was said that was going to be. The second one is because the results of these policies must be properly measured to realize their real achievements; in doing so – measuring – we see tacit models emerge from daily practice. It is thus by approaching the tools that we can proxy and infer the actual models implemented. Definition of “The Digital Economy”
First of all, before being preoccupied with the impact of the digital economy on income distribution in Thailand, we would like to present some formal definitions of this term that we gathered from various sources in order to shed light on your vision and broaden your perspective toward this issue… “…The Digital Economy – is defined by the changing characteristics of technology, information, computing, and communications – is now the preeminent driver of economic growth and social change. With a better standing of these fundamental transformations, we can make wiser decisions – whether we are investing in research, products, or services, or are adapting our laws and policies to the realities of a new age…” – Neal Lane, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, April 1999 “…The Digital Economy refers to a set of qualitative and quantitative changes that, in the last 15 years, have transformed the structure, functioning, and rules of the economy. It is the knowledge and idea-based economy where the keys to job creation and higher standards of living are innovative ideas and technology embedded in services and manufactured products. It is an economy where risk, uncertainty, and constant change are the rule, rather than the exception…” – The United Nation Conference in 2000...
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