The Global Information Infrastructure: From the Virtual Enterprise to the Virtual Economy

  • Louis A. Lefebvre
  • Élisabeth Lefebvre
  • Pierre Mohnen


Today’s economic landscape is characterized in the popular press by the metaphors “globalization”, “knowledge-based economy”, and “information society.” Globalization refers to the worldwide scale of production, distribution and ownership. Transnational corporations organize their production from facilities in several countries. Financial markets are integrated and R&D is spread around the globe. “Knowledge-based society” refers to the recognition of knowledge as a proxy for technological change and as a key factor in economic growth. Competition in new products and improved product quality replaces the traditional price competition. “Information society” refers to the information and communication technologies (ICT) as a new techno-economic paradigm, revolutionizing how we do business and affecting many aspects of our daily life. These three facets are, of course, interrelated and mutually reinforcing. One feature of the new economic order, which also relates to the other three, and which we want to bring to the forefront in this paper, is the growing importance of virtual enterprises and their impact on the emergence of a virtual or digital economy. The “virtual” or “digital” economy refers to an era of business without borders (temporal, geographical, functional or organizational) fueled by the activities of entities called “virtual enterprises” which operate in high-performance networks of suppliers, competitors and consumers.


Surfactant Europe Steam Transportation Income 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adam, N.R. and Y. Yesha (Eds.), Electronic Commerce: Current Issues and Applications. Berlin: Springer, 1996.Google Scholar
  2. Altshuler, R., H. Grubert and T. Scott Newlon, “Has U.S. Investment Abroad Become More Sensitive to Tax Rates?” NBER Working Paper 6383, 1998.Google Scholar
  3. Bartlett, C.A. and S. Ghoshal, Transnational Management, Second Edition. Chicago: Irwin, 1995.Google Scholar
  4. Bhagwati, J., Protectionism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  5. Business Week, “The New Business Cycle,” March 31, 1997, 58–68.Google Scholar
  6. Business Week, “Whirlwind on the Web,” April 7, 1997, 132–136.Google Scholar
  7. Business Week, “A Census in Cyberspace,” May 5, 1997, 5.Google Scholar
  8. Business Week, “The 21st Century Economy,” August 24–31, 1998.Google Scholar
  9. Conference Board of Canada, Jobs in the Knowledge-Based Economy S Information Technology and the Impact on Employment, 1996.Google Scholar
  10. Davidow, W.H. and M.S. Malone, The Virtual Corporation. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992.Google Scholar
  11. Enright, M.J., E.E. Scott and D. Dodwell, The Hong Kong Advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  12. European Commission, Building the European Information Society for Us All. Final Policy Report of the High-Level Expert Group. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1997.Google Scholar
  13. Farrell, J. and G. Saloner, “Installed Base and Compatibility: Innovation, Product Preannouncements, and Predation,” American Economic Review, 26, 940–955, 1986.Google Scholar
  14. Freeman, C., “The Economics of Industrials Relations, Pinter, London, 1982.Google Scholar
  15. Frank, J., “Preparing for the Information Highway: Information Technology in Canadian Households”, in Canadian Social Trends. Statistics Canada, cat. 11–008E, Autumn, 1995.Google Scholar
  16. Gellman, R., “Conflict and Overlap in Privacy Regulation: National, International, and Private” in B. Kahin and C. Nerson (eds.), Borders in Cyberspace. Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  17. Gwartney, James D., Economic Freedom of the World: 1997 Annual Report. Vancouver: Fraser Institute, 1997.Google Scholar
  18. Hines, J.R., Jr., “Taxes, Technology Transfer, and the R&D Activities of Multinational Firms.” NBER Working Paper 4932, 1994.Google Scholar
  19. Hines, J.R., Jr., “Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America.” American Economic Review, 86(5), 1996, 1076–1094.Google Scholar
  20. Hirst, P. and G. Thompson, Globalization in Question. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  21. Human Development Report.New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  22. Hummels, D., D. Rapoport and K.-M. Yi, “Vertical Specialization and the Changing Nature of World Trade.” Economic Policy Review,4(2), 1998, 79–99.Google Scholar
  23. ITAA (Information Technology Association of America), Help Wanted: The Information Workforce Gap at the Dawn of a New Century. February 1997.Google Scholar
  24. Kahin, B. and E. Wilson (Eds.), National Information Infrastructure Initiatives: Vision and Policy Design. A Publication of the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project in collaboration with the GII Commission.Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  25. Kalakota, R. and A.B. Whinston, Electronic Commerce, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1996.Google Scholar
  26. Kokuryo, J. and Y. Takeda, “The Role of Platform Businesses in Electronic Commerce.” Working paper, Keio University, Japan, 1997.Google Scholar
  27. Kuhn, T., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  28. Lee, F.C. and H. Has, “Évaluation quantitative des industries à forte concentration de savoir par rapport aux industries à faible concentration de savoir” in P. Hovitt (ed.), La croissance fondée sur le savoir et son incidence sur les politiques microéconomiques. Industry Canada Research Series. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  29. Lefebvre L.A., E. Lefebvre, L. Cassivi and C. Lebrun, L’entreprise virtuelle et GALS: la nouvelle dynamicjue commerciale mondiale, EPM/RT-97–15, CDT. Montréal: Centre de veille concurrentielle, École Polytechnique, 1997.Google Scholar
  30. Lipsey, R., M. Blomström and E. Ramstetter, “Internationalized Production in World Output.” NBER Working Paper 5385, 1995.Google Scholar
  31. Markus, M.L., “Toward a Critical Mass Theory of Interactive Media.” in J. Fulk and C. Steinfield (eds.), Organizations and Communication Technology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1990.Google Scholar
  32. McKnight, L. and A.J.J. Botelho, “Brazil: Is the World Ready for When Information Highways Cross the Amazon?” in B. Kahin, and E. Wilson (eds.) National Information Ilfrastructure Initiatives: Vision and Policy Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  33. OECD, Technologies,Productivity and Job Creation. March 1996a.Google Scholar
  34. OECD, Information Infrastructure Policies in OED Countries. OEDE, May 1996b.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. OECD, Information Technology Outlook 1997, 1997.Google Scholar
  36. Ohmae, K., “Putting Global Logic First.” Harvard Business Review, Jan.-Feb., 1995, 119–125.Google Scholar
  37. Petrazzini, B.A. and G. Harindranath, “Information Infrastructure Initiatives in Emerging Economies: The Case of India,” in B. Kahin, and E. Wilson (eds.) National Information Infrastructure Initiatives: Vision and Policy Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  38. Quinn, J.B., Intelligent Enterprise. The New York: Free Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  39. Rogers, E.M., Diffusion of Innovations, Fourth Edition. New York: The Free Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  40. Sciadias, G., Linking Information Highway Infrastructures with Transactions. Services, Science and Technology Division, Statistics Canada, 1996.Google Scholar
  41. The Economist, “Electronic Commerce – In Search of: the Perfect Market.”,May 10, 1997, pp. 3–18.Google Scholar
  42. Thurow, L.C., “An Era of Man-Made Brainpower Industries,” in D. Neel (ed.), The Knowledge Economy. Boston: Butterworth-Heineman, 1998.Google Scholar
  43. Tushman, M.L. and L. Rosenkopf, “Organizational Determinants of Technological Change: Toward a Sociology of Technological Evolution,” in B. Kahin and E. Wilson (eds.) National Information Infrastructures Initiatives: Vision and Policy Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  44. World Competitiveness Report.Genève: EMF Foundation, 1997.Google Scholar
  45. Yoxen, E., “Seeing with Sound: A Study of the Development of Medical Imaging,” in W. Bijker, T. Hughes and T. Punch (eds.), Social Construction of Technological Systems, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis A. Lefebvre
    • 1
  • Élisabeth Lefebvre
    • 1
  • Pierre Mohnen
    • 2
  1. 1.École Polytechnique & CIRANOCanada
  2. 2.Université du Québec à Montréal & CIRANOCanada

Personalised recommendations