James Wong |
Weny Isawati |
Chad Rissman |
The readiness of Brazil and Argentina in the networked economy framework
is determined by their participation in the networked world with their
businesses and government involvement in employing information and communication
technologies. Brazil possesses large and well-developed agricultural,
mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, which outweighs other South
American countries and expands itself in world markets. After real wages
fell from 2001 lasted until 2003, Brazil's economy grew only 1.1% per
year. Likewise, Argentina promotes rich natural resources, a highly literate
population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified
industrial sector. However, Argentina's economic growth suffers with the
growth of -0.8% in 2000. Their economic problems lead to currency devaluation.
With the above background, both of Brazil and Argentina offer unique ICT
Employment Opportunities, B2C and B2B electronic commerce, and E-Government,
opportunities and challenges.
ICT Employment Opportunities - Stage 3(Brazil)
The current IT market in Argentina, which is the third largest in Latin
America, causes shortages of local opportunities. ICT professionals have
to look elsewhere for jobs or work for a local firm at lower wages. U.S.
companies are cutting costs, which reduce outsourcing opportunities in
Argentina and there are declining outlets for IT professionals to find
jobs in the US. Argentina's ICT opportunities started to decline after
the fall of the dot-com market in 2000. Based on the fact that ICT professionals
are in abundance, but must find work elsewhere, categorizes Argentina
at Stage 2 of the Networked Economy Framework for ICT Employment Opportunities.
However, the need for them is growing. The education level in Argentina
is ranked higher than Brazil and has a smaller population, thus, there
is a better opportunity for Argentina to move up the framework at a faster
rate. The Brazilian workforce has an adequate education system at its
foundation. There are many skilled workers and a growing number of technology,
engineering and science professionals. Although the country has many issues
that are pressing which will damage the productivity of the workforce,
such as poverty and infrastructure problems, there are many things advantageous
as well. According to Ben Goertzel, CEO of Biomind LLC, a bioinformatics
company in Silver Spring, Md., he stated that "Brazil comprises highly
skilled IT professionals, a tradition of high quality software engineering,
and a relatively short flight time from the U.S. East coast to hold in-person
meetings several times annually. The fact is the economy kills the IT
industry for those who are highly skilled. They long for greener pastures."
In conclusion, Brazil has characteristics of Stage 3 and part of Stage
4 in the framework because of the centralization of the information and
communication technologies in many local organizations and a large employment
of local IT professionals by other countries.
B2C Electronic Commerce - Stage 3(Brazil)
Despite having an enormous division among the rich and the poor, Brazil
seems to be in a positive situation in regards to B2C electronic commerce.
The Brazilian Government realized that liberalization towards investments
and trade could help the country's economical growth in particular areas,
including e-commerce and its e-commerce opportunities develop tremendously.
Additionally, Brazil removed restrictions on foreign direct investments
that attracted foreign investors. Many businesses throughout the country
as a whole do not have the resources to incorporate the World Wide Web
into their sales, marketing and customer service systems. Throughout the
visit, excluding CDI, all of the companies we visited were large companies
with access to many resources to perform business online. There was an
unnoticeable difference between these companies in Brazil in comparison
to companies in the U.S. and Europe. According to statistics from the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Argentina has over 4 million
Internet users, which represents about 33% of Internet users throughout
the country. Argentina is one of the dot-com leaders of Latin America
with the number of Argentine Internet start-ups is higher than in most
of the region and the e-commerce business is booming.
B2B Electronic Commerce - Stage 4(Brazil)
Both Brazil and Argentina seem to be progressing in creating and maintaining
B2B electronic commerce. Both countries are taking a huge advantage of
B2B business domestically as well as internationally. According to the
Yankee Group, Latin American companies will conduct $63.8 billion of online
business-to-business transactions by 2005. This enormous number is the
result of a couple of main developments that include the arrival of increased
bandwidth and the purchase of more sophisticated computers throughout
smaller companies. Additionally, Brazil's liberalization has strengthened
the trade links between international supply chains for many different
industries. Both countries lean towards stage 4 than stage 3 due to the
huge gap between some parts of the country.
E-Government - Stage 3(Brazil) Stage 3(Argentina)
Argentina was at Stage 3 because they primarily use the government website
for informational purposes. The assumption was based on Buenos Aires'
government website, which offers notifications, city activities, city
services, contacts, city news, and travel information. The website does
not provide any online commerce transactions. Likewise, Brazil's government
websites for the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are mainly for
local information and news. Thus, Brazil is positioned at Stage 3 in the
framework. Both countries have the resources to invest or create more
advanced websites to provide a wide range of services including payment