Global Networks and Local Values

Posted: 8 Apr 2003

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Kenneth H. Keller

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Abstract

Opportunities and risks are twins. There are few to deny the opportunities of global networks in general and of the Internet in particular. But many fear for the concomitant risks, or what they perceive as a risk. Racists speech, pornography and personality profiling rank highest in public awareness. Some concerns are quasi universal, like child pornography. For others there are at least differences of degree. Following its history, Germany has tabooed right wing publications. And Americans, in their majority, feel hurt by nudity, which most Germans find quite inoffensive. Such examples lure into a simplistic opposition: Global networks threat local values. The reality of global networks, and of their interrelation with local values, is much more complex.

The National Research Council has set up a binational, German-American committee to study the question. The committee has convoked two symposia. This abstract refers to the final report drafted by the committee and approved by the review process of the National Research Council. The report brings to bear knowledge from many fields: technology, economics, political science, communications science and the law. The report starts by outlining how the historically highly unlikely success of the Internet could happen. It lays conceptual foundations by determining the individual and social functions of values, what makes them local, and how global networks can impact on them. On these conceptual foundations chapters are built that look at democracy and political institutions, the highly contentious issues of free speech, privacy and freedom of information, and at commercial values. Each of these chapters demonstrates that the issue is by far not as simple as public discourse tends to assume. Not surprisingly, the potential solutions are not simple either. Characteristically, they imply considerable institutional creativity, and usually some hybrid mix of private and public, national, international and sub-national inputs. The report concludes with an outlook beyond the German-American perspective.

Posted along with this abstract is a short document, summarizing the basic insights of the report. The full report is accessible on the web.

Keywords: Global networks, Internet, Cyberspace, local values, local culture, free speech, privacy, freedom of information, electronic commerce, Internet governance, hybrid governance

JEL Classification: H1, H4, H7, K33, L96, Z10

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph and Keller, Kenneth H., Global Networks and Local Values. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=307039

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+049 228 914160 (Phone)
+049 228 9141655 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/engel.html

University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO Box 1738
Rotterdam
Netherlands

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

Kenneth H. Keller

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs ( email )

301 19th Avenue, South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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