Since the end of World War I, advocacy of the free flow of information across international borders has been the central element of United States' international information- communication policy, with the U.S. arguing for free flow on the grounds that access to information is a necessary condition for human self-determination. Analysis of the U.S.'s major policy statements on international information-communication issues between 1980 and 1994 shows that, during that period, the U.S.'s discourse shifted from its historical focus on the political and social benefits of international information-communication flows to a heavy emphasis on the economic benefits of such access. This article examines the global politico-economic changes that laid the groundwork for the new discourse during the 1970s, and the resulting emergence in the early 1980s of the epistemic community of U.S. information-communication policy makers who brought the new discourse to the fore. The article also examines the implications of the U.S.'s new economic focus on information-communication issues in light of on-going discussions about construction of a Global Information Infrastructure.
International Communication Gazette, October 1995 vol. 54 no. 2 121-143.