The combination of the Internet, development and democracy provide poor countries with new opportunities to get richer and freer. In using examples from Asia, we show that despite the Internet being no panacea tends to have a positive effect on both development and democratisation. Due to the linkage between economic and political development, the Internet’s effect on political development will tend to be good for economic development, or vice versa. A digital divide exists, but so does a digital opportunity for developing countries, and the Internet’s unique decentred structure makes it difficult for authoritarian regimes to comprehensively instrumentalise this technology. Essentially, all three processes (i.e. the Internet as an aspect of technological progress as well as economic development and democratisation) are interlinked with each other and tend to correlate positively. We also look at some meaningful measures, which are key in supporting the Internet’s positive effects.
Recommended CitationRudolph, J. and Tin, L. T., Can the poor get richer and freer? The internet, development and democracy in Asia, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 12, 2002, 105-122.