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Introduction and overview

The widespread expansion in the capacity to capture, communicate, compute and store information has led to a profound restructuring of economic and social organization (Webster, 1995). While this creates new opportunities for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, it also brings with it a multitude of new threats. The path to becoming an information society varies from country to country, depending on the initial conditions, the technological, economic, social and cultural dynamics, and the public policy strategies employed (ECLAC, 2003a). From a traditional ECLAC perspective, the last of these factors is the most important. Policy agendas are the result of processes that involve broadly opposing forces within a society. These agendas can be seen as a dynamic sequence involving the recognition of problems and opportunities, formulation of proposals, and political facts or events (Kingdon, 1995). The initial recognition of problems and opportunities involves selecting the issues that society recognizes as important. In this phase, citizens, civil society organizations and communications media work to raise interest in certain issues, and to create specific awareness and understanding of their nature. Policy formulation, which constitutes the second phase, involves redefining options for addressing the problems that have been identified. For a proposal to remain valid and to ultimately be considered, it must meet various criteria, including political acceptance, conformity with established values and current sentiment, and budgetary, technical and institutional feasibility. The third phase is one of political dynamics. While the search for solutions centres on analysis and persuasion, political consensus is achieved through negotiation involving different approaches to solving specific problems, based on the options identified.

Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development
Sustainable Development Goals:
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