More dialogue with TMTTLT: Push back…:
We seem to be more in agreement than not.I’ll resist the slide from “computing devices” to “technology,” but probably nothing turns on that anyway. The laptops are valuable at least as much for their interactive, networking potential as for their other computing possibilities, maybe more. Plenty of people in the developed world benefit from Net access, and not because they’re becoming better prospects to attend MIT. That brain-drain argument seems to be a red herring.
Do you give fish or teach to fish? Of course, you teach to fish given the live option, but not while at the same time denying your students fishing tools.
What’s wrong with those other two positions is that they deliberately exclude the developing world.
yes, generally we are in agreement. my concern with the brain drain is one of dependence economies, they create less opportunities for the less able and immense opportunities for the most talented. the question becomes again ‘who benefits’ but i’m thinking at the state scale in that framework.
it might be best to exclude the developing world from objects like laptops though. that’s the idea, perhaps there are better informational tools and it is better for them to develop the appropriate technologies for their own use than to follow the paradigm of one laptop per child. no?
aristotle argued that potential good is not real good. we’ll only know if this is real good if it is studied and there is no plan in place for that.
why is bill gates right in this case, in my opinion? because he has been to africa and most of the rest of the developing world and has put in place a solid development regime based on healthcare, nutrition, libraries and education. In short, he is building real social infrastructure. he isn’t dropping 2million laptops in, which he could, because he has consulted with development specialists and has seen what becomes of western technics in the places that might not value them similar to us. laptops aren’t sustainable in most environments, and this laptop is not that different in the end. my problem is that this laptop is actually taking money away from other infrastructures (because the nations) and that it will be a short lived object at best. I think Gates sees this too and that is why he chose to go a different way.