Extended Essay (revised

)
The Internet Reduces the Gap between the ~Haves¨ and the ~Have Nots¨
The numbers oI Internet users are increasing worldwide. However, there is some debate on
the eIIects oI the Internet on people`s liIes. One oI the debates is related to the Internet`s
impact on the gap between the 'haves¨ and the 'have nots¨. This has become an important
issue because it concerns the way to maximize Internet use to reduce poverty. This essay will
consider argument Ior the Internet widens the gap or narrows it. Moreover, it will put Iorward
reasons why the Internet reduces the gap between the 'haves¨ and the 'have nots¨.
It is argued that the Internet creates global stratiIications called digital divide which divide
people, communities and nations into the 'have¨ and the ¨have nots¨. According to
Organization Ior Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2001), the digital
divide result Irom disparities in access to inIormation and communication technologies
(ICTs) and utilizations oI ICT based on socio-economic levels. Unequal access to ICT is not
merely about the availability oI communication inIrastructure, it is also related to ability to
access the technology. However, access to the Internet is more available than is oIten
claimed. Sonia Arrison (2002), director oI the Center Ior Technology Studies at the PaciIic-
Research Institute, argues that the term 'have nots¨ meaning not having access is more likely
to be not wanting to use it. Moreover, many developing country already have started to
develop ICT systems and show higher annual growth oI Internet users compared to
developed countries (Kenny and Fink, 2003)
On the other hand, the Internet has been shown to have various advantages to those called the
¨have nots¨. The Opportunity to access worldwide knowledge is oIIered through the Internet
(Education Encyclopedia, 2011). Philip Brey (2006), ProIessor oI Philosophy oI Technology
and chair oI the Department oI Philosophy, University oI Twente, the Netherlands, points out
that everyone can easily access massive amounts oI inIormation globally through theInternet
because the Internet unlocks the gate to worldwide resources. Furthermore, as Brey notes, it
improves the way inIormation is being spread globally by providing chance Ior everyone to
share and exchange inIormation in a simpler and Iaster way.
The Internet brings economic beneIits Ior people Irom developing countries. It supports
global economy by connecting countries around the world (Education Encyclopedia, 2011).
Clark Boyd (2006), a technology correspondent Ior The World, a BBC World Service and
WGBH-Boston co-production, explains the way the Internet can help small entrepreneurs in
developing countries to get support Irom donors in developed countries. Boyd mentions two
web-based microIinance programs, Global Giving and Kiva, which provide spaces Ior small
entrepreneurs to promote their projects and businesses and at the same time bridging them
with potential donors.
Moreover, small businesses Irom developing countries can be more cost eIIective by utilizing
the Internet properly. Firstly, it can help increase number oI consumers by reaching wider
range oI consumers through online advertisements. In addition, it provides a simpler way Ior
consumer to purchase things through online transactions. Secondly, the Internet cuts the cost
oI inIormation dissemination systems inside and outside the company by providing online
messages which are less expensive compared to regular mailing systems. Despite all these
economic beneIits, the use oI the Internet also Iaces important challenges on online programs.
User may encounter illegal activities, Ior example cyber-crimes, such as Iraud and hacking.
However, many countries worldwide have already started to develop regulations and cyber-
laws, to overcome any kind oI cyber-crimes.
In conclusion, the gap between the 'haves¨ and the 'have nots¨ can be narrowed by the
Internet. The Internet can be a strategic tool to reduce poverty. However, developing
countries still need to make sure ICT inIrastructure is available Ior everyone and continue to
develop regulations that can protect Internet users Irom cyber-crimes.

Bibliography
Arrison, S. (2002). Perspective: What digital divide? CNet News. Retrieved August 16, 2011
Irom http://www.edutopia.org/print/digital-divide-where-we-are-today
Boyd, C. (2006). Online loans help world`s poor. BBC News. Retrieved August 16, 2011
Irom http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4759122.stm
Brey, P. (2006). Evaluating the Social and Cultural Implications oI the Internet. Computers
and Society 36(3) 41-48. Retrieved August 16, 2011 Irom
http://www.ethicsandtechnology.eu/images/uploads/a1-brey.pdI
The international gap in technology-The digital divide in education, Education and
technology in balance. Education Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 16, 2011 Irom
http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2124/International-Gap-in-
Technology.html#ixzz1UQNYH9aZ
Understanding the digital divide. (2001). OECD publication. Retrieved August 16, 2011 Irom
www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/57/1888451.pdI

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