Inadequate communications systems
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.