The Digital Flood: The Diffusion of Information Technology Across the U.S., Europe, and Asia

James W. Cortada

Research output: Book/ReportBook

27 Scopus citations


No technology seems to have spread so fast around the world in such a short period of time as computers. It was a phenomenon that predated the arrival of the Internet and that began to change how businesses, governments, and whole societies functioned. The diffusion of information technologies occurred in dozens of countries all over the world with fascinating similarities and differences. This book provides the first world-wide history of how computers appeared and were used in North America, all of Europe, and in most of Asia in barely a half century based on archival and secondary research and over a dozen detailed country case studies. It explores the causes of diffusion, arguing that more than the technology itself, other conditions were required for the spread of computers, such as standards of living, education, the Cold War, and globalization of the economy. It argues that these technologies hold together today's economies. It is economic and business history, but also a guide to those who want to understand what is happening today in such nations as India, China, and other emerging economies as the Computer Revolution continues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages864
ISBN (Electronic)9780199980406
ISBN (Print)9780199921553
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • China
  • Computers
  • Diffusion
  • Europe
  • India
  • Information technology
  • Internet
  • Telecommunications
  • United States
  • Wave one
  • Wave two


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