Attempts to bring the benefits of information technology in the form of the internet to developing countries have, to date, foundered on the belief that this requires the beneficiaries to access the technology directly. As a result, the perceived huge benefits of such an enterprise have often failed to materialise.
This original contribution to the debate on developing countries and IT suggests that the benefits of the internet can be passed on via an intermediary. That is, what matters is not the internet itself, rather its ability to provide information that can be made relevant and useful locally. Intermediaries are arguably more likely to provide such information and hence more likely to promote what Amartya Sen called individual 'functionings', for example the ability to be free of illness.
Jeffrey James is an impressive servant to the discipline of development studies, here he brings together previously fragmented literatures to break new ground in internet intermediation. Information Technology and Development will interest development economists and practitioners in equal amounts.
1. Introduction Part 1: Analytical Foundations of a New Paradigm 2. The Existing Paradigm and its Limitations 3. An Emerging Paradigm Part 2: Radios, Telephones and Internet Access 4. Community Radio and the Internet 5. Basic Telephony and the Internet in Rural Areas Part 3: Rural Internet Access: Alternatives to Radios and Telephones 6. The Need for Alternatives 7. The Role of Rural Internet Kiosks: Gyandoot 8. The Role of Rural Internet Kiosks: n-Logue