Conclusion Making Sense of Our World M. Castells The Information Age Economy, Society and Culture, Volume 3 1998 Comments and Questions This paper discusses the state of a New World, as it relates to information technology, the economic crisis and restructuring of capitalism and statism, and the blooming of cultural movements. I think the paper is well written, and touches upon some interesting issues with regard to the changes in society in the modern world. Information technology has certainly changed the way the world operates, and has obvious linkages in a geographical context. For example, cities, countries and regions are virtually (i.e. real virtuality) closer than ever before. The explosion of the Internet has made easier the concept of reaching out geographically, and generating awareness of different cultures and economies. However, there are still fundamental differences across the globe, which need addressing which information technology cannot (yet) influence, such as politics, religion and beliefs/traditions/values. Countries can leverage the advantages of information technology, doing so as an extension of their political position, cultural views, and economic status. That is, the medium / output has changed, but how so does the content which it serves One issue of information technology in the context of geographical thought involves that of the decentralization of decision making. In doing so, an advantage is that decisions and policies are subject to a wider forum of participants or delegates. As a result, decisions can be less self-contained. However, is this necessarily a good thing Does involving a wider spectrum of groups / individuals really help the process. Though borders are eliminated in a virtual sense, does decentralization have an advantage of this In terms of the saying, think globally, act locally, how far does the idea of decentralized decision making help the locality which it is positioned to impact In terms of a new society stemming from production, power and experience Production as firms change their paradigms, operations become more decentralized, and machines are increasingly replacing humans in generic labour type tasks. Some obvious advantages here are a) the reduction of human error in operational environments b) automation and quicker processes of generic type tasks. However, some issues are involved in this approach a) how much can operations be systematically automated without error To what degree can they be depended on, especially for mission critical environments b) you need people. No matter how much things are automated where humans are replaced by humans, machines are not fault tolerant. It is indeed a human who must configure or perform maintenance on these components. To what degree can these operations be deployed and decentralized What are the impacts in a geographic context Power in a geographic sense, those with power can extend their power more globally. However, what implications does this make The exploitation of third world countries labour pool by powerful individuals and organizations is a strong example. No matter how decentralized things are, it is the geographic place, which takes the impact economically, politically, socially, culturally and environmentally. In this respect, power can be an issue, in determining accountability of those in power in impacted areas, where they do not necessarily live, or care to be accountable for. Experience Castells notes paternal involvement in family and the need to rebuild society from the bottom up, based on egalitarianism in rebuilding families. While this is certainly an admirable approach, how much of the past can be undone or forgotten to make way for a new society The history of society, any society, is often built upon past events and experiences. As a result, I would suggest a more moderate approach, rather than a bottom up rebuilding of society. In conclusion, I found this paper interesting to read, and to apply the concepts in the context of geographical thought. Making Sense of Our World


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