The Trader and the Internet by Suzanne Withers, Ph.D.
By now, much has been written about the Internet, the international computer users' network. But details have not been as forthcoming. How can Internet help traders and investors?
The profitable use of Internet, the worldwide information system, is just being recognized. A veritable electronic
volcano is hiding beneath the surface of information distribution as most traders know it, and it is erupting. The global network of intercomputer communication has been around for a while. Until now, however, it has been the domain of the government, the military and academia, all intensely exchanging arcane data, hypotheses and hyperbole. Only very recently has the commercial potential of the Internet been recognized and begun to be exploited. If nothing else, consider Internet in potential marketing terms. The current worldwide Internet user population is approximately equal to that of the United States. These 250 million-plus potential users tend to be college-educated, many with graduate degrees, and are computer literate, with average earnings far in excess of the national average.
Internet allows immediate worldwide data dissemination, thereby allowing new ways to contract, cooperate and provide - the very ingredients necessary to create and sustain markets for goods and services.
Computer-oriented business has taken up the gauntlet in using the computer network. Silicon Valley has organized and set up CommerceNet, a consortium of 40 businesses, including the likes of Intel and Hewlett-Packard, to create and exploit the Internet's commercial potential. Together, the businesses are attempting to make efficient data and information communications a reality. The federal government has donated $6 million in matching funds to explore the uses of the Internet commercially, and state and local government together have contributed a similar amount.