[iDC] FW: One Laptop Per Child - MIT/Negroponte Initiative

davin heckman davinheckman at gmail.com
Wed Jan 2 20:40:02 UTC 2008

Not to nitpick, but I have a hard time getting my head around the
thought that people "choose" to leave their farms and move to slums
and work in sweatshops.  This is a gross distortion of what is
actually happening.  People are leaving threatening situations to seek
opportunities which may or may not exist.  And there are decisions
being made by other "humanitarians" like the WTO which are
accelerating this process....  There is a strong economic carrot and
stick operating here (and the carrot part seems to be shrinking while
the stick is growing).

I think this is why people throw around terms like "cultural
imperialism" or whatever.  It places the entire responsibility of
failure on the individual and his or her culture, but takes great
pains to celebrate success as a triumph of the philanthropic project.
To use an example, both Chile and El Salvador were the site of
horrifying atrocities achieved in pursuit of an U.S.-backed economic
and political order, yet in many circles, these atrocities have been
reframed as unfortunate but acceptable growing pains on the road to
the future.

Granted these laptops are nothing like paramilitary death squads...
But it's hard to blame people for being sensitive about imperialism...
 especially if they have been put through the ringer before.  And I
can't imagine that many of them are reassured by the "you gotta break
some eggs" approach to philanthopy.


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