Is our connectivity dividing us?

Is our connectivity dividing us?

Summary: Visiting British Member of the European Parliament Dan Hannan told a meeting in Auckland recently that it is easier for firms in his South East England constituency to deal with New Zealand or Australia than it is for them to trade with France and Germany.

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TOPICS: Broadband, Start-Ups, NBN
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Visiting British Member of the European Parliament Dan Hannan told a meeting in Auckland recently that it is easier for firms in his South East England constituency to deal with New Zealand or Australia than it is for them to trade with France and Germany.

Hannan argued that technology has removed the "tyranny of distance", and it is now far simpler to deal with those who speak the same language and have similar laws and customs — even if they're half a world away.

Hannan is one of those who speaks of an Anglosphere — a group of English-speaking countries, which is basically the US and the Commonwealth.

The concept was invented by US technology businessman James C Bennett, who saw the potential of tech in bringing English-speaking peoples together, even if they are flung far apart.

He and other fellow believers reject the view from some that the West has its best years behind it.

They point out that all of the major tech innovations have happened in the Anglosphere, and that its countries have the major software companies — Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and so on, which are creations with no direct foreign equivalents.

Such views find favour with conservatives, and opposition from the left wing.

I canvassed Kiwi opinion on the subject earlier this month, and found that IT firms and their representatives in New Zealand deal extensively with the US, the UK and Australia. The US is often seen as the "home" of tech, so Kiwi start-ups tend to try out the US markets, and are often bought out by US firms in the process. The UK is seen as the next bridgehead, potentially the second biggest market.

I was told that, yes, speaking the same language and having similar laws and customs does make it easier to trade with the countries of the Anglosphere. Dealing with China, for example, is harder, due to cultural and language barriers.

It's often been considered that New Zealand and Australia need to woo their neighbours in the Asia region with more smiles than their traditional allies. That's where the growth is, and our proximity makes it essential to cultivate good relationships there.

However, with technology removing the distance issue, will it make the world a smaller place, or will it make it easier to become divided amongst age-old cultural lines?

Topics: Broadband, Start-Ups, NBN

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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