Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


Computers are often blamed for widening the economic disparities in the U.S. Many IS researchers and practitioners claim that information technologies are value-neutral. Indeed, computers have benefited everyone by enabling business firms to improve their efficiency and produce better products and services. However, critics suggest that computers have improved efficiency at the expense of widening the gap between rich and poor.Do computers really favor the affluent at the expense of others? I explore this question in this paper and present what IS professionals could say about computers and the income inequality. In particular, I describe how computers that are used to improve the efficiency end up unintentionally widening the inequality. In addition, I also describe why it has been so difficult to empower the economically disadvantaged workers using computers.