The Information Economy has captured the imagination of all levels of society. Yet very often, analyses tend to reflect personal biases or propose incredulous scenarios. This essay does not seek to rewrite old rules for a new economy; rather, it seeks to provide a balanced perspective on opportunities and challenges facing East Asia, using a multidisciplinary approach. It finds that although these countries differ in their levels of development in the Information Economy, their prospects of growth depend on the policies that they choose to pursue. Deliberations on economic issues (such as the potential for productivity gains from ICT), political concerns (including the need to cope with changing government‐people dynamics), and social changes (such as the diminution of local cultures and the widening digital divide) often involve both costs as well as benefits. The optimal balance is likely to differ between countries, with no clear model answers.
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