No. 10




Information-based society, information-based governance

15 December 2004


RiTo No. 10, 2004

  • Mati Heidmets

    Professor of Social Psychology, Tallinn University

Information-based societies and economies can be thought of in two different ways – according to sphere or according to decision-making mechanism.

The first approach is based on the belief that social progress is ensured by prioritizing development of certain spheres of life and activity; according to the second understanding, the central characteristic of an information society is the way decisions take shape in society. Figuratively speaking, this could be the model of society that is able to harness a collective intelligence several times greater than what we have today. Even though sphere- and decision-making-mechanism-based approaches are not mutually exclusive, placing emphasis on a sphere or way of doing things have different outcomes. For a small state with limited resources similar to Estonia, it would definitely be beneficial to move in a more decision-based direction: even though the set of ideas behind such a model of society is for now still vague and in part contradictory, it does embody content, vision and a friendly approach that would befit a small state. In practice it would mean that not only predetermined areas should be prioritized and supported, but rather productive people and original ideas irrespective of the sphere they occupy. It should also help Estonia overcome its confusion regarding which direction it should develop in and steps supporting the development – a confusion reflected above all by the fact that each government has its own document envisioning the future, which is promptly forgotten by the subsequent government.

Full article in Estonian