- JAPAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- vol.1996, no.113, pp.90-102,L12, 1996-12-30 (Released:2010-09-01)
The purpose of this paper is to present a historical and geographic macroperspective on the changes in global politics and economics being brought about by communications networks. The Internet is playing a major role in this revolution. We are in the midst of an momentous age, in which two cultures, which began in ancient Egypt about 6, 600 years ago and spread around the globe, are meeting again in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Japan. The information revolution is making this possible.We can use the Venetian civilization as the dividing line between the Middle Ages and the modern industrial world. Since then, the phases of global prosperity were punctuated by the industrial, manufacturing, and commercial revolutions made possible by the development of the steam engine, and later the internal combustion engine. The fourth phase of global prosperity began when the American-invented transistor was reborn as the microprocessor.A key aspect of the information revolution is the migration of publishing onto online services, and making those resources available in real time. This is being made possible by the microprocessor. In turn, this provides us with the ability to use communications networks to improve dialogue among nations, access to education and health care, and solutions for the planet's ecology.The roots of this information revolution lie in the US's attempt to deal with such problems as its budget deficit, trade deficit, and increasing difficulties with its systems of education and health care. But as the US makes the transition from a National Information Infrastructure to a Global Information Infrastructure, this information revolution also offers opportunities for solving East-West and North-South problems. Communications networks are now linking not only the world's major economic powers, but also post-Soviet Eastern Europe, the Asian-Pacific region, South America, and Africa. From the standpoint of this information revolution, the major power in the twenty-first century—in terms of human resources, language, economic strength, military ability, and communications technology—will not be China or India, it will be the US. The US is the only nation with sufficient resources to leverage communications networks as a means toward peace and prosperity in the twenty-first century. The US can use the information revolution to extend its dominance and prosperity for another hundred years. Rather than compete against the US, Japan should choose to support the cause of world peace by contributing to the expansion of information networks.