Click to view a PDF (Adobe Acrobat PDF) file.
Chapter Two, A Communications Cornucopia: Markle Foundation Essays in Information Policy, Roger G. Noll and Monroe E. Price, editors (Brookings Institution).
Advances in information technology have gradually blurred the boundaries among the communications media, raising complex policy issues concerning regulation, intellectual property rights, the role of media in politics, and educational methods. The new information technology has ushered in the era of convergence and choice: convergence in the sense that all communications media are rapidly moving towards becoming simply a different form of bit streams in a digital network, and choice in that monopolies (like telephones) and tight oligopolies (like network television and local newspapers) are rapidly being challenged by new entrants as technological progress has lowered entry barriers. During this period, the Markle Foundation has been the leading supporter of research on the social and economic effects of these changes, under the leadership of its president, Lloyd Morrisett. This essay traces the co-evolution of information technology, communications policy research, and the Markle Foundation.