Global Trade Series: Fragmentation in the Digital Economy


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by The Hinrich Foundation
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Global Trade Series: Fragmentation in the Digital Economy

Since its creation, the internet has vastly expanded sociopolitical and economic development around the world. This is largely attributed to the its ability to facilitate communications, data sharing, and commerce on a truly global scale.

Unfortunately, a free and open internet will not always be guaranteed. Fragmentation between rival nations is growing, and it threatens to split the digital economy into silos.

In Part 3 of The Global Trade Series from the Hinrich Foundation, we examine the current state of digital fragmentation and its implications on the world.

The Physical Divide

Developed economies are entering a fourth industrial revolution, spawned entirely by digital technologies. This includes transformative innovations like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and 5G.

These technologies have the potential to improve income levels and quality of life, but they could also worsen global inequality. This is because of a major gap in internet-supportive infrastructure, as illustrated in the infographic.

To get a sense of this gap, consider the following numbers.

  • 86 countries have fewer than 300 secure servers per million people
  • The U.S. has over 110,000 secure servers per million people
  • Denmark, the Netherlands, and Singapore have an even higher ratio than the U.S.

Secure internet servers are the basis of protected communications on the internet. Without them, (Read more...)