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The Digital Economy

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The Digital Economy

Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you know how to get your e-mail, you are already part of the digital economy, like it or not. Now, here's how to make money in the new age.

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Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Overview


Don Tapscott provides an overview of the way the digitalization of information is transforming the economy and projects the likely changes ahead from his perspective in 1996. The book suggests ways to exercise leadership effectively in this transformed, networked world. However, since this thoughtful, well-organized book was written several years ago, it is mainly of historical interest now, because of the rapid changes in the digital world. Still, it is useful to apply some of the themes Tapscott developed when you consider how the digital economy is continuing to evolve. getAbstract recommends this well-written book for a general audience as well executives and managers who are interested in the unfolding of the new economy.


The Rise of the Age of Networked Intelligence

The new "Age of Networked Intelligence" is giving rise to a new economy, politics, and society based on digitalization. As it leads to the transformation of business and the renewal of government, it also enables individuals to "reinvent" themselves. While this transformation offers much promise, it also has many potential perils, such as increased social stratification, the invasion of privacy, unemployment of displaced workers, and social upheaval. The outcome will depend on the way businesses and society act in response to the new technology.

Businesses will find their operations transformed much more by the new technology than they ever were by the Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) trend of the early 1990s. Those efforts to make processes more streamlined and reduce costs generally failed. BPR provoked both open and passive resistance, particularly when it led to downsizing. By contrast, the changes provoked by the digital economy will be even more massive, and involve far more than just changing processes to control costs. Companies must commit to using information technology to improve customer service, to become...

About the Author

Don Tapscott chairs the Alliance for Converging Technologies, which conducted a multimillion-dollar investigation into the information highway and its impact on business. He consults, speaks, and writes on information technology. He is the author of the best-selling Paradigm Shift and three other widely read books. He is also president of the New Paradigm Learning Corporation, a consulting firm specializing in helping organizations manage the transition to the digital economy.

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