In Australia, we are considering the NBN, and the impact it will have, and argue about the best way to deliver it, cost effectively.
A further debate should be the impact of connecting the billions of people in the world not yet connected, and what that may mean to us, and others currently enjoying the benefits of living in a developed economy.
What will happen when Africa has access to the net, not just the knowledge, but the social tools, the ability to connect and do business across borders, absorb the cultural and economic differences they have with the developed world? With the resources base in Africa, the potential for development based on resources is huge, as with Siberian Russia, so long as the social institutions in those regions can evolve to the benefit of the majority, rather than breaking down into deadly squabbles over the potential spoils to the few.
The growth in Asia, low cost manufacturing based on low labor and institutional costs, has led to increased prosperity, increased education, a movement from the country to the cities, changes in traditional diets, will only accelerate and move to other areas in the world with increased connection, with huge flow on impacts.
Logically this also leads to consideration of the financial markets, as the developing world generates large trade surpluses, and investments in infrastructure funded by domestic saving further increasing their competitive advantage, how will the currently developed world repay the accumulated public debt? What will happen in those “developed” countries that slash public expenditure, and increase taxes to repay the debt rather than default?
We are in for a wild ride over the next few decades, but we seem to focus excessively on meaningless trivia, perhaps it is a coping mechanism.