e-Talk Radio: Rubin, Howard, 12 September 2000

[article]
Rebroadcast 24 October 2000

are a little bit different story. After producing the global new economy book, interestingly enough, I got a call that President Estrada of the Philippines was coming to the United States and would I like to meet with him, or he'd like to meet with me, actually is the way it went. And I said I'd be pleased to do so, and I had a meeting with him in Washington, DC, outside Washington, DC, sort of an economic meeting sponsored in that area. And interestingly enough, in the Philippines, President Estrada gave a speech to the nation, and his speech to his nation, which is a state of the union, a mobilizing speech, said that in the Philippines, as a developing nation, we now have a major opportunity in the information age, to leapfrog ahead, and that in fact, the digital economy offers nations such as his the opportunity of moving forward faster than just ever before. And that they can do this by changing their technology policies, having an educational work force, educated work force, and encouraging outside investment. So in fact, the Philippines right now has started to make changes in its policies, has done a lot to follow the model India has, particular zones or areas, that are very well focused on electronic trade, has done a massive amount of work on its educational infrastructure, and is producing I believe hundreds of thousands of computer science graduates a year, has focused on understanding that English is one of the key languages for the network age. They have a trained work force, both technically and in a strong knowledge of English, and in fact is moving very aggressively to attract foreign investment. They intend to go head to head with India. So right now, Philippines views India as their primary target, I believe, in competitive space, or one of their primary targets. And their goal is to attract outside investments, have high bandwidth communications, and have a wonderfully trained work force that will make them a global player. And, like I said, the president, with everything else going on in the Philippines, addressed the nation about their chance to leap ahead and become a major player in the global economy, is literally through this digital transformation.

Carol: And it's almost unprecedented, that if you take a country like the Philippines or a country like India, that they've got, as you said, they've got the health care issues, they've got rudimentary Maslow's hierarchy of needs, they're focusing for much of the nation on the basics in those areas, yet they're able to leapfrog ahead without actually having the emigrate anywhere else, from their own backyard.

Howard: Right. And this does cause some tension. Although I wasn't able to be at the G-8 summit in Japan itself, when the digital divide initiative was discussed. There were many demonstrators saying we don't need computers when we don't have basic water and sanitation and certain things. So there are issues about moving a country ahead in the proper sequence of priorities, in terms of what will do the best for the health and welfare of those people. And that's why also it was the government of India that asked us to take a look at what we know about the global new economy index and the human development index to understand how technology is influencing the quality of life. Because at the end of the day, that's what it's about. At the people level.

Carol: Right. What's that meant to U.S. corporations? Has it allowed U.S. corporations to actually kind of involve

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