Long ago, I completed a research paper on the impact of technology on developing countries. The early advantage of a media and information rich country over those without the same access were very clear. If one country could get instant information while another waited for printed material or otherwise unavailable information, then the information itself was a commodity that could be easily monetized by the savvy holder of the knowledge.
Along comes wireless, broadband, internet, satellite and mobile devices and voila, information becomes more available to more people. In some cases, the developing countries actually outpaced developed countries in the use of both satellite television and cell phones. A trip to Venezuela in the 90’s revealed for me my first look at a truly cell phone society. Mobile phones were relatively cheap and there were no roaming charges or per minute fees, just a pay as you go or monthly fee. It seemed that everyone had a cell phone, in every financial demographic no less. It was many years before I ever felt the same prolific use and visibility of cell phones in the US. In fact, even now we are often more reliant on wired broadband connections than many seemingly less developed areas.
Information as a commodity may still apply but the playing field has certainly leaped into a more fair and equal place. That may also mean that the US, once leading the information commodity race is no longer in a prime position and must find new uses for technology if it wants to maintain its global status. Perhaps another case for investing in known hyper-growth regions like India, China and South America.