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

Alexis Turner subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
Thu Jan 3 11:12:15 UTC 2008

I don't know, nor do I think we can measure in advance, that any technology can 
close the widening gap between rich and poor.  But this is where you and I 
perhaps most fundamentally differ.  I don't believe the proper focus towards 
bettering people's situations should be seeing money in their hands.  I 
believe the focus should be on empowerment and dignity.  Looking at a poor 
person and seeing an equal is far more radical than trying to give them all what 
we have, because, after all, who's to say our way is "the right way?"  This 
is a very fundamental paradigm shift in the way the problem tends to be 

Take Africa.  How much money has the West thrown down that rabbit hole?  If some 
of the thoughts I've finally heard starting to peep out is to be believed - and 
it seems fairly logical to me - throwing money at Africa is exactly *why* it 
continues to struggle.  Because it's a paternalistic system that believes it 
knows what Africa needs more than Africa does and so it doesn't actually give 
Africa the tools it needs to fix itself.  It keeps it dependent.  It's 
demoralizing and crippling and creates the proverbial vicious cycle. 

Iraq?  Instead of building infrastructure, employing citizens, or creating 
homes - all things which have been proven time and time again to be the building 
blocks of a working society - we just stand around flexing muscle and 
*preventing* the very things necessary for a society to stand on its own and, 
in the best situation, even thrive.  We are actually blocking the possibility 
of progress by pouring money but not tools into the situation.


On Wed, 2 Jan 2008, davin heckman wrote:

::Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2008 22:50:08 -0500
::From: davin heckman <davinheckman at gmail.com>
::To: subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
::Cc: idc at mailman.thing.net
::Subject: Re: [iDC] FW: One Laptop Per Child - MIT/Negroponte Initiative
::I don't doubt your good intentions.  And I respect your assertion that
::the laptops will be, like everything else, a mixture of good and bad.
::I hope you do not think that I have a black and white view of the
::world.  But most of all, I'm sorry if I insulted you.  I sure didn't
::mean to sound like a jerk.
::You said,
::>This is, in fact, precisely
::> why I would like to see people given a set of tools that might allow them
::> to extricate themselves from either such situation, or even avoid them
::> altogether.
::But I want to ask if there is real evidence that this particular
::technology would turn the the tide of the widening gap between the
::rich and poor?  I agree that there will probably always be poor
::people....  but if human actions can create an economy in the first
::place, and deliberate policy decisions can concentrate wealth in fewer
::and fewer hands....  then it is not an academic exercise to say that
::policy decisions could disperse wealth across a wider swath of the
::population.  But it would take a critical mass of influential people
::believing this before such changes in policy could be made.  Still, it
::could happen.
::I think we are in agreement that we can at least break fewer eggs....
::I do however disagree that the with the notion that people suck.

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