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Building the Information Society
It is an issue whether with the building of the information society starts the information epoch. According to some scientists the growing information societies are only intermediate transition between the industrial and information era – the first have not finished yet, and the second- have not set in entirely. Toffler claims that ″the third wave″, have started in the USA in the middle of 50s with the progress of ″white collars″. Other scientists take the view that the beginning of the information era is put with the appearance of personal computers and the information revolution in 80s.
During the first half of 20th century the USA economy, Europe and Japan start diversify and attract, more office working people – salesmen, clerks, managers and etc. Thus knowledge and information become key elements for successful business. In the USA the information systems and technologies are the second largest industry after the oil industry. 75% of Gross Domestic Product comes from the information and service sectors, and 78% of the labour force is occupied in these sectors. Every year, USA spend $ 2 billion for information highways development, Canada – 24 million Canadian $ and Japan declares that until 2015 will build optic network to every house, school and office. The physical skills are replaced by knowledge. The key characteristics of knowledge-based economy are:
1. The production of manufacturing goods is moved to countries with cheap man power and is replaced by information based products production;
2. Fast growth of information products and services;
3. Displacement of low qualified workers by qualified information hands;
4. Rapid expansion and augmentation of the number of firms providing knowledge and information.
The reduction of information prices and availability of means and ways for its immediate distribution are the basis of information revolution. And while during the industrial epoch the information issue is about its insufficiency and low speed of circulation, in the information society the main question is the men’s possibility to cope with such huge amounts of information.
In the time of market globalisation, technologic innovation and economic growth, the contemporary societies face the challenges of new realities. It is obvious that with the transition to information society every state’s economy binds with its information highways more and more completely and its efficiency is a function of its information and communication structure. For Europe based countries, the European integration is of a special importance. Their future, at a big extend depends on the speed and efficiency of using the opportunities caused by the new information and communication technologies. That is why the European Union undertakes a number of initiatives relevant to the building of information society. In 1993, the European commission report as an example that the phenomena of the information society was expected to gradually become worldwide, but initially at the head of this advance to stand the biggest economic powers – USA, the European Union and Japan.
For the first time, in 1993, in the European Commission’s White Book ″Growth, Competitive power and Employment″ is paid attention to the change which is going to take place in people’s lives under the conditions of the information society.
The book gives the basic principles for building of information society in the presence of technologies built up infrastructure, service development and citizens’ preparation for work and life under new conditions.
In 1994, in Corfy took place a Meeting of the European Counsel that approved the principle of creating Council of Ministers on the information society issues. In the same year there was an initiative for the main strategy of European Union with recommendations. The European Commission creates active plan ″European Road to Information Society″ (1994), where the main priorities for the information society are marked, namely: liberalization of telecommunications until 1998 and creation of adequate business environment, to invest in education and secure equity for all citizens to make use of the advantages of the information society.
Abreast of the plan for development of information and telecommunication infrastructures (1997), a special attention is paid to people – their place in the originating information society, their rapid integration and adaptation to new life conditions, work and entertainment.
The European commission undertakes actions to solve the citizens’ social problems and to defend their interests. This decision is declared in the Green book ″Life and Work in the Information Society – people are at the first place″ (1993). In this book, the commission indicates the challenges that the information society addresses to citizens in regard to working places and employment, entertainment and the way they spend their leisure time, new education methods and etc. The stress is put, on the importance of science and research works, building knowledge on new work forms, the necessity of reconsideration of education in accordance with the information and communication technologic revolution, surmount the gap in knowledge and skills between people. With the assignment of priority, place people above technologies, the purpose of this initiative is to put key issues for new work organization, social integration and the necessary conditions for fair participation of all society members.
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