U.S. Ranks Fifth Nation in Network Economy: Report

By Erin Harrison April 13, 2011

The United States is no trendsetter in communications and technology as compared to its European counterparts, according to the latest study released by the World Economic Forum.

The report attempts to address the capability and level of success of a nation to benefit from the network economy, co-author of the study, Soumitra Dutta, a professor of Information Systems at the Insead business school, The New York Times reported.

For the second consecutive year, the U.S. finished fifth in the study’s comparison of 138 countries that comprise 98.8 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product: Sweden was first, followed by Singapore, Finland and Switzerland.

According to the report, “the country making the most progress in 2010 was Indonesia, which jumped 14 places to 53rd – in part because of high educational standards and in part because of the importance the government has placed on information and communications technology.”

After dropping two ranks in the last edition, the United States retains its fifth overall place despite losing ground on a number of individual indicators, the report said.

“Remarkably enough, the country features in the top 20 of all nine NRI (network readiness index) pillars. The United States does best in the usage-related categories, where it ranks fifth,” the study continued. “U.S. businesses boast among the highest levels of ICT (information and communication technologies) readiness and usage.”

The report concludes that “while the precise nature of these transformations 2.0 are difficult to accurately envisage, evolving technology trends are pointing to the most likely directions they will take over the next few years—what we term as the move toward SLIM,” an acronym for “social,” “local,” “intelligent” and “mobile.”

The researcher said the U.S. was uneven on many information and communication technologies that affect economic competitiveness. For example, it ranked 76th in the rate of mobile phone subscriptions, 48th in low-cost access to business phone lines and 24th in percentage of households with a personal computer – behind Bahrain, Singapore and Brunei, among others. Dutta said the United States ranked 52nd in math and science education.

For a copy of the full report, click here.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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