World Wide Web and Economic Development
As one of the major factors of globalization, the Internet largely defines the nature of international development. In the recent past, in advanced client-oriented economies associated with fierce competition, companies that could satisfy the needs of consumers more efficiently were leaders in the market. Still, today, enterprises that can meet customers’ needs faster have more chances to win. In the present-day environment, the ability to broadcast advertising faster and in a more visible place than competitors can, to respond faster to clients’ requests, to accept and process orders quickly − all these capabilities may largely define competitiveness. Since the Internet supports many business activities, it plays a major role in the development of industries.
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Over time, the integration of new information technologies has made the use of the Internet a mass phenomenon by increasing the data transfer rate and expanding the number of access points. It is possible to say that the increase in the volume of goods and services that can now be found and consumed in the global network is closely related to this rapid technological advancement. Besides, the cost of access to the Internet is continually decreasing, and, as a result, organizations have an opportunity to target almost an unlimited number of potential consumers through the World Wide Web (Meijers, 2014).
Moreover, the expansion of the number of participants in international Internet commerce is facilitated by some improvements in legislation. Adopted in June 2011 in the EU, the Directive on consumer rights obliges online sellers to disclose the final cost of the goods and all additional fees; to accept goods that the user wants to return for any reason within 14 days of purchase; not to charge extra fees for credit card payments; provide full descriptions of all technical characteristics of the product, etc. (The Directive on Consumer Rights, n.d.) In this way, buyers are provided with more securities, and, therefore, international trade thrives in the online space.
2010-2012 Debt Crisis Within the EU
Politicians, experts, and market researchers have been arguing on the causes of the crisis in the eurozone since 2010. Various interpretations have been proposed. Some researchers consider that the main reason for this was the excessive level of costs in economically weak countries of the southern, peripheral Europe and Greece, in particular (Bitzenis, Papadopoulos, & Vlachos, 2013). These countries spent and consumed more than they earned, and it led to a chronic budget deficit that accumulated from year to year and resulted in the excessive growth of public debt. In a certain moment, when the markets refused to provide credits to those countries, they could not finance themselves any longer. However, not only those countries that used poor financial policies were overloaded with debts.
Overall, the fundamental reason for the debt crisis in the eurozone was the lack of sufficient control and the connivance to the spontaneous forces of the market. As it turned out, the United Europe project is far from perfect. The monetary union created in 1999 was not supplemented by the unification of tax, fiscal and economic policies of member countries. As a result, some states abused the opportunities that opened with the introduction of the Euro.
Greece ignored the standards laid down in the European Pact and took advantage of the situation to get the maximum amount of cheap loans to finance the increasing public expenditure and consumption (Bitzenis et al., 2013). The crisis has dealt a serious blow to the prestige of the EU and the single European currency. It became apparent that the EU may start to lose its leading position in the economic competition and can be outperformed by other major players – the United States and China.
Bitzenis, A., Papadopoulos, I., & Vlachos, V. (2013). Reflections on the Greek sovereign debt crisis: The EU institutional framework, economic adjustment in an extensive shadow economy. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Web.
Meijers, H. (2014). Does the Internet generate economic growth, international trade, or both? International Economics and Economic Policy, 11(1-2), 137-163. Web.
The Directive on Consumer Rights. (n.d.). Web.