How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan
Posted in: Government & Policy at 16/04/2012 18:01
The European country where Skype was born made a conscious decision to embrace the web after shaking off Soviet shackles
In 1995, four years after Estonia broke free from the USSR, Toomas Hendrik Ilves read a "very Luddite" book by Jeremy Rifkin called The End of Work. "It argued that with greater computerisation there would be fewer jobs," remembered Ilves, then a senior diplomat, now the country's president, "which from his point of view was terrible."
Ilves and many of his colleagues saw it differently. In a tiny (population: 1.4 million) and newly independent country like Estonia, politicians realised computers could help quickly compensate for both a minuscule workforce and a chronic lack of physical infrastructure.