According to the latest global information technology report from the World Economic Forum, Finland leads the world in terms of networked readiness.

Singapore is in second slot, then Sweden, then Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, followed by little old Blighty.

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say big old Blighty. After all, it is the first country on the networked readiness index with a population in excess of 20 million. In fact a quick back of an envelope calculation (or is that front of an iPhone calculation?) reveals that the entire population of all the countries combined which feature higher up the list than the UK is less than the population of England.

In short, the UK has a greater degree of IT readiness than any other member of the G8.

For what it’s worth, behind the UK on the index is Denmark, then the US, then Taiwan.

China is in 58th spot.

But this leaves some questions.
According g to Bilbao-Osorio, Senior Economist, Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network, World Economic Forum, and co-editor of the report: “ICT’s role in supporting economic growth and the creation of high-quality jobs has never come under such scrutiny. Despite initial concerns that ICT would hasten the deployment of resources towards developing countries, the benefits of ICT are now widely recognized as an important way for companies and economies to optimize productivity, free up resources and boost innovation and job creation.” But if that is so, why is it that the UK, despite its lofty position in the index, lags so far behind its most G7 countries for productivity?

“This analysis shows how matching investments in ICT with investment in skills and innovation can help economies cross a ‘magic threshold’, beyond which return on investment increases significantly,” said Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director e-Lab INSEAD. If that is so, why is the UK’s economic performance so dire?

“Digitization created 6 million jobs and added US$ 193 billion to the global economy in 2011. Although in aggregate positive, the impact of digitization is not uniform across sectors and economies – it creates and destroys jobs,” said Bahjat El-Darwiche, Partner at Booz & Company and sponsors of the Report. He added that: “Policymakers wishing to accentuate the positive impact of digitization need to understand these different effects if they wish to act as digital market makers in their economies.” Well maybe he is right. Digitisation does create jobs, but it destroys them too.

That is not to say that digitisation is a bad thing – of course it isn’t – but it is dangerous, and it is uncertain how the global economy will react to the effect of digitisation.
But let’s say digitisation will lead to a rise in productivity and productive capacity. A way has to be found for ensuring the profits trickle down into the pockets of consumers, or demand will lag behind capacity. Ways have to be found to get demand to rise, or all that potential may create economic depression.

© Investment & Business News 2013