Information technologies have contributed to the increase in the concentration of access to information, decision-making and control. They have accelerated the crisis in employment through labour substitution and have intensified the competitivity processes in both economic and social spheres. Their development has sustained the belief that the urban crisis can be resolved through new information and communication infrastructures. Computer-based planning, monitoring and control systems are presented as the key to efficient development and management. Information technologies are presented as the key to future competitiveness of cities, nations and isolated regions. Communication technologies are promoted as the means through which truly participatory democracy may be achieved.
The emergence of information technologies in the 1960s has been described as a third industrial revolution leading to an information society and a global village. Information technology has become so central to modern enterprises that the health of an organization may depend critically on the success of a new information system. At the same time the complexity of computer systems, and especially communications technology, continues to grow at a relentless pace. Information and communication technologies have had major impacts on all key economic activities, whether their nature, their organization in the factory or the office and their territorial centralization or decentralization (whether within or between countries).
Many countries are rushing into computer without examining their needs. China, in 1984, imported $300 million worth of computer components to make 120,000 computers. By 1985 at least half of them were unused because of shortages of skilled users and software programmes. In some African francophone countries it is not unusual for government data-processing offices to close down due to a lack of paper.