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A few years ago, I was preparing a lecture on globalization. I wanted to use the word globalization as one of the pillars of theÂ global economy of the 21st century. The problem was that globalization wasnâ€™t a new concept.
World history reveals that global linkages between countries through trade,Â military conquest, colonization and cultural outreach have existed sinceÂ time immemorial.
Plus, the word globalization doesnâ€™t reflect the electronic and digital empowerment unleashedÂ by the contemporary information technology and communications revolution.
So I racked my brain to find a modern equivalent for theÂ word globalization. Many hours of contemplation and semanticÂ searches failed to reveal a textual epiphany.
Under those challenging circumstances and fuelled by my determination toÂ replace the word globalization with a modern equivalent, I resorted to anÂ original wordsmith creation.
Thatâ€™s the context in which I coined the word internetization. To my way ofÂ thinking, internetization includes the global linkages of the wordÂ globalization and extends them by embracing the electronicÂ connectivity and empowerment of the Internet and the World Wide Web.
Internetization has made time and geography irrelevant. Internetization has speeded up communications, reducingÂ the time required for connectivity to mere nanoseconds. Internetization has melted geographical boundaries and made themÂ increasingly porous and insignificant in terms of social, economic andÂ political global outreach.
Thereâ€™s no denying that internetization has enhanced the quality of ourÂ lives, and made our daily tasks easier and quicker. This includes a broadÂ range of personal activities from shopping, banking, access toÂ government services, entertainment, travel, communication, worship to manyÂ more.
However, we need to constantly remind ourselves that internetization is aÂ new technological frontier, uncharted territory that has also unleashed aÂ darker side to its opportunities and outreach.
These Internet monsters include cyber-attacks, email hacking,Â fraud, cyber bullying, malware infections, identity theft,Â intellectual property hijacking, political instability and electoralÂ compromise. This is only a short list of the invasive, illegal, unethicalÂ and immoral possibilities of internetization.
Internetization is indeed a pillar of theÂ global economy of the 21st century. It is also a pillar of a broad social evolution, for good and bad.
Dr. Constantine Passaris is a professor of economics at the University of New Brunswick.Â He is the author of the chapter on The Economics ofÂ Internetization in the recently-released Encyclopedia of InformationÂ Science and Technology.
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