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Open Access Publications from the University of California

What Planning Crisis? Reflections on the “Digital Divide” and the Persistence of Unequal Opportunity

  • Author(s): Gordo, Blanca Esthela
  • et al.

This article examines the “digital divide” problem in relation to social and economicdevelopment. Thedigitaldividereferstothedifferencebetween those who are able to and have the opportunity to participate, compete, and prosper in knowledge-based economies and in a society organized around social networks and those who do not. The thesis is that ownership and the ability to use and manipulate the productive function of technology is becoming an important component in the process of production, consumption, and exchange in society. The negative result for those who are unable to create through the process of technology is digital destitution. The alienation suffered may be a result of deprivation and unequal opportunity to experiment and learn how to create and relate to people through the use of technology. The author proposes public policy intervention in the way of creating valuable opportunity to experience and develop the social technical skills necessary to attain and retain gainful employment. The proposal is provision of new Community Technology Development (CTD) programs that support the process of social and economic development at the community level. Giving people the opportunity to experiment the process of production is key to addressing the ongoing process of poverty and inequality.

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