IT: A Historical Perspective

We have seen that democratic ideology encouraged U.S. demand for information in the eighteenth century, and that technologies such as the printing press allowed and encouraged increased dissemination of such information. The continued growth of demand for information, combined with new communication and transportation technologies and evolving organizational forms, encouraged the development and support of information infrastructures such as the postal system, the railroad, the telegraph, and the telephone in the early and mid-nineteenth century (Chandler, 2003).

It seems that this demand for information only accelerated in pace during the centuries which followed. During the last century the information technology industry has shown remarkable growth. More advanced technological capabilities and usage due to greater global interconnectivity make it possible for companies to overcome difficulties in transferring information across international borders.

Castells (1999) even argues that the information and communication technology is the essential tool for economic development and material well-being in our age; it conditions power, knowledge and creativity; it is, for the time being, unevenly distributed within countries and between countries; and it requires, for the full realization of its developmental value, an inter-related system of flexible organizations and information-oriented institutions.