Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The alarm bells get louder

Recently this headline caught my attention:

“A LOW-COST LAPTOP FOR EVERY CHILD - Effort to link world’s rural poor to Internet with $100 computers gets boost from U.N.” Shivers went through me. Over the years, my wife and I have traveled to more than two dozen Third World countries and have seen children struggling with unbelievable obstacles—hunger, disease, and countless other ills. Amazingly, these children were happy with the little they had. Certainly they needed help—but not low-cost laptops, as trumpeted by the headline I referred to above. That would be like giving stones to someone asking for bread...more here


Aaron said...

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. These computers will be meant as an educational tool and a way of evening the playing field for poor kids in the developing world. While I agree that we need to be meeting basic needs before throwing technology at people I'm thinking that kids that are able to go to school have at least some of their basic needs met. Not every child in the third world is starving ( many are ). Many are simply forced to live with the harsh reality that even if they wanted to become a doctor or an engineer they will never ever have the tools availble to them to pursue this. I think this could be a good thing.

There I'm getting off my soapbox. =)

Dave said...

Hey Aaron, great to get your post, I know what you mean, its just that experience dictates that education may be the intention, but it may not be the result. We have had many many years to provide schools, food, education, healthcare etc etc, but have largely not accomplished this.

I too think it could be a good thing, but once you open that pipeline you create a demand for material health and wealth and establish a consumerist society. This western capitalist ideology would then clash with the fundamental Islam that is making huge strides into Africa and we could create another 'terror' hotbed.

Sorry, bit of a doomsday scenario, its going to come, but if we can keep the lid on Pandora's box till we have sorted more pressing needs then all the better.

We can provide the tools for people to become doctors and engineers without a laptop I think, we managed in the past.

Feel free to get back on your soapbox anytime, your comments made me think hard about my own views, and like I said, I know what you mean and agree, maybe what we need is caution and implementation from companies not profit driven.

Wong Online PoKér Hu said...

Although I think i get the point of this idea, I will agree with you that this is probably giving stone to starving kids rather than giving bread. Maybe these people think that education is a more important issue to address than hunger.


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