For the many years the gap between the richest American’s and the rest of the work force continued to grow. US I.R.S numbers for 2003 show that only Americans in the top 1% of the income bracket, or those who make over $327,000 per year saw a significant income increase. The bottom 99% of the workforce only saw their incomes increase by less the 2%, which didn’t even match the overall inflation rate of 2.3%.
Gap between rich and poor people and societies might be one of significant generators of security problems. As this trend continues to grow, we can’t expect security problems to grow. Although this affects and applies to other security areas more, it is also case in computer and Internet security area. Internet, as one of the most important and democratic instruments for spreading news and knowledge, i.e. in media and learning space, shows this trend.
Some authors think that technology progress can help to democratize world and to create means which will help this gap to decrease. Their arguments are based on details such are:
• Availabity of modern technology to wider population
• Media coverage and availability of information
• Education and knowledge availability
This seems as true but only on first site. When we look into more details we can see that truth is different.
Will technology increase the gap between rich and poor? It will certainly increase the gap between the productive and the unproductive. For example, with a tractor an energetic farmer could plow six times as much land in a day as he could with a team of horses. But only if he mastered a new kind of farming.
For example, now high school kids could write software or design web sites. But only some of them will; the rest will still be scooping ice cream.
Improved technology made it possible for many people to buy a computer of their own as student, many years ago. Very soon, some of them were using it to make money as freelance programmers, web site designers etc. A few years before that, they couldn’t have done this. A few years before, there was no such thing as a freelance programmer.
As this example suggests, the rate at which technology increases our productive capacity is probably polynomial, rather than linear. So we should expect to see ever-increasing variation in individual productivity as time goes on. Will that increase the gap between rich and the poor? Depends which gap you mean.
But this gap is potentially dangerous. As in past, when people, armies, states were fighting for natural resources (land, water sources, oil, gas, mineral sources, forests), now people will fight for domination in information and communication world. It also produces more opportunities for those who want to make fraud. Information is important and others’ confidential data are relatively easy if owner of data failed to protect them in right way. Vital communication and information infrastructure can be target and way to harm interests of other groups, organizations and governments. It is also fact that increasing number of people believes that current division of natural resources and richness is not fair. Malcontent united with possibilities that new information and communication technologies give can lead to destructive ideas.
This becomes very important battle field in present time. In future we can foresee growth of this trend. It is probably important to understand that domination of small group of people over majority of others can be dangerous for them also.