Get Involved: Go Online

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The Digital Economy

Inform Yourself

1.
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Read an article about the Internet and the U.S. economy. While the Internet has changed commerce, business practices, and how individuals communicate, it has also helped grow the U.S. economy. Read an article on this topic at: http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/19/news/economy/internet_economy/index.htm. Why do you think the United States lags behind other advanced industrialized countries in the percentage of GDP coming from Internet-related sources?
2.
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Consider whether paper money and credit cards will be replaced by new payment technologies. Read the “Future of Money” report by the Pew Internet and American Life. What do you think? Will the dollar go the way of the dinosaur, or will change to our currency come about more slowly? What are the major barriers to mobile money?
3.
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Watch a video on government Internet policy. Consider the news report on a program intended to provide Internet to residents of Tampa, Florida. What are the pros and cons to government and private-sector programs to provide Internet to more Americans? Should other cities implement such programs? Should the federal government have a role in providing Internet access in the United States? What about state governments?
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Express Yourself

4.
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Weigh in on the future of Internet policy. The United States is one of 34 countries with market-based economies that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Recently the OECD began to create a standard Internet policy for all the member countries. This report is available at: http://usoecd.usmission.gov/mission/internet.html. Do you support adopting these policies? Contact your members of Congress to let them know. (See Chapter 12 to learn how to identify and contact your representatives.)

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