Needed: One Revolution Per Child


When I am busy wondering if laptops are better than books for Thai students, people smarter than me are asking more long-term questions.

Take Code Monkey Ramblings, who in his OLPC: Yesterday's IT for tomorrow's technology-driven world post brings up very important post-educational questions:

  • What good are these going to do, if the students don't have access to a local job market capable of allowing them to use technical skills?
  • Where is the flow of capital into these countries that would enable the creation of viable businesses?
  • Where is the legal system that promotes fair and flexible arbitration and that is reasonably free of the more common forms of corruption?
  • Where is the basic infrastructure like telecommunications networks capable of connecting poor regions to rich regions. It's a little hard to telecommute without them, and telecommunications are only the tip of the iceberg in many poor areas lacking infrastructure.

Better than a laptop?

He is so right. It is not the technology, stupid, it’s the environment. The entire educational, operational, political environment that is the underlying root cause of the poverty, of the "developing world" status. Or as Code Monkey Ramblings so eloquent says:

Then you have to consider that a lot of these areas are poor because of systematic bad government, corrupt business and general malfeasance among their power institutions. What most of these countries need is a liberal revolution, not a laptop aid program.
What a novel idea! One Revolution Per Child! Then, instead of working with symptoms of poverty - poor education - we could be working on the root causes of poverty, many of which are not as fancy or as flashy as a little green laptop.

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Do you really think that these laptops are going to be distributed to the people who need them? There has rarely been any success with programs as simple as food aid being distributed appropriate.

The whole concept of the website is quite deploreable. Granted that it might not be the panacea of all the problems of this world, but having a website dedicated to spread the FUD is beyond belief. Go get a life yaar.

At least reaname this website to olpcnonews otherwise.

That's right Rajiv, we should close our eyes, cross our fingers and just hope that everything that OLPC promises comes true.

1. not all poor lack the necessities. 2. a "liberal revolution" would benefit from "liberal ideas." 3. this is not about technology, any more than the printing press was.

The printing press did not cost $140 million dollars either.

The reason it's so easy for corruption among govt institutions to prosper is that most people in the country have no way of finding out it happened, and therefore there is little fear of revolution.

With a few million kids running their own mesh network, I imagine rumours of govt corruption might spread a little faster.

Hence I doubt you will see any rollouts in the countries that are run by military dictatorships or hopeless corrupt governments, there would be too much fear that the laptops would be used as a covert comms channel for the resistance.

In the places where it is deployed, OLPC will likely be a force for continued liberalisation on the grounds that people in authority will know it's not as easy as it once was to cover up corruption and suppress investigative journalism.

I agree with Seth Wagoner. However , I wonder... Let's say that OLPC WOULD agree to sell the 2B1 to "developed countries", in one million quanties for a higher price, so that it would support the project and _everyone_ could get one of their own, the right way, of course. Were I live (Sweden), people would most likely want our government to give out more and more information on what they are doing.

I guess we are not unique in that perspective, AND when I say that alot of people, don't really feel that they can influence our politics. The whole "oh damn this left/right wing"-thing. It's plain stupid, we should focus on issues. Right/Left wing politics are relics of the past. People are sick of it. We have an election this year. So people are "scratching heads", over here. People would sooner or later want to have the possibility to vote in more or less of a "direct democracy nature", so I wonder if it would _only_ be the dictatorship govs, that would not like the idéa of people having the ways and means of influencing politics. It's only a mather of time before we can do secure voting on all sorts of diffrent political issues. The question is "how" and "when"? Not "if".


The reason it's so easy for corruption among govt institutions to prosper is that most people in the country have no way of finding out it happened, and therefore there is little fear of revolution.

end quote.

Seth, I'm not sure I agree with you entirely here, though I think I get your point - information access helps to empower populations. However, radios are common in many rural communities and many slums look like a sea of TV aerials when viewed from above. People do keep up with issues like corruption. What they are actually able to do about it is another matter.

As an example, most people in Kenya are aware of Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing, two huge corruption scandals. Despite pretty clear evidence of what was going on, no one has even managed to bring a full case to court yet.

The Goldenberg case is over 10 years old.

How would having a laptop help a kid stop corruption in Kenya - a child with a laptop is still be a child, is s/he not?

"How would having a laptop help a kid stop corruption in Kenya - a child with a laptop is still be a child, is s/he not?"
end quote.

This project does not only benefits the kids, it benefit their parents to and the kids become parents themself one day, given the means to have an _dialog_ with other people, no matter the "geo-distans" is a great thing, and given a "guide" how people can express themself over IT and the guide lines to manifest it in real life. Just imagen people getting hold of Johan Galtung's texts with the conditions for democracy and non-violence, or any other great (IMHO) thinkers.

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