Communications infrastructure is essential for effective social function at at scales of society, and has been so throughout human history. Dependence on overly-complicated or sophisticated technological communication can pose problems when the level of performance cannot be guaranteed; or when it is incongruent with the needs of the society.
At the national level communications can be divided structurally into two main branches: production on one hand, and distribution on the other, of information, opinion and entertainment. In practice, the division has never been absolute and overlap and unified control of both branches is now often much greater than in the past. The distinction is relevant because many countries, when developing their own communication systems, have given priority to distribution at the expense of production. Hence, they find themselves dependent on investment from abroad in the infrastructure, on news compiled by outside organizations, on entertainment also created far away, and in general on sources of production over which they have no influence. Although most countries have national news agencies, they often have meagre resources, material, technical or staff, so that their supply of news must be supplemented by outside material. For this reason, among others, the mass media in such countries still depend mainly on news selected and transmitted by larger outside agencies. Entertainment schedules on radio and TV are also heavily laden with imports from abroad and the advertising field is often influenced, if not controlled, by branches of international companies. In many instances this pattern leads to large-scale foreign intervention, heavy external investment and unhealthy competition in the development of the material-producing branch of the communication industry. It may also sometimes cause the creation of national and international monopolies in one or more of its components. Such centralization often tends to create a certain amount of standardization in media products.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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