Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Listening to the poor (was Re: [learningfromeachother] Content workflow)

Expand Messages
  • Edward Cherlin
    ... Hence my plans to get appropriate technology for electricity generation and Internet that we can place using microfinance, thus enabling a great many more
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 8 10:57 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 10:28 PM, Peter Burgess <peterbnyc@...> wrote:
      > Dear Colleagues
      >
      > I have not been a very active contributor to this discussion ... but have
      > one issue that gives me great concern. Simply put, it is that most people
      > want to learn, and the reason they want to learn is because the learning is
      > going to have some value. Young children learn ... arguable it is part of
      > their survival system ... and educators try to guide young people so that
      > they will learn things that are going to be useful in a more complicated
      > adult society.
      >
      > When I look at the problem of poverty ... the 2 billion that live on not
      > very much ... it is apparent to me that there is a massive problem. What is
      > the problem? It is a productivity problem in a very physical economy that is
      > not going to be much impacted by information flowing through the OLPC
      > initiative UNLESS in parallel with the information flows there are some
      > action flows and work to fix the productivity issues, whatever they are.

      Hence my plans to get appropriate technology for electricity
      generation and Internet that we can place using microfinance, thus
      enabling a great many more employment and business opportunities. And
      my plans to get schoolchildren to connect around the world, and teach
      them how to create sustainable international businesses together. We
      will need at least a trillion dollars in new economic activity to
      support the families of up to a billion children. Something like $1000
      per child. Just about what a Grameen phone lady used to make renting
      out a mobile phone, before the other villagers bought phones of their
      own. But with computers and education, much greater opportunities will
      appear.

      I and others have identified opportunities for the children in
      agricultural products, including coffee, tea, cacao and other
      high-value products (if the communities can do the processing
      themselves, and not just sell the raw beans, leaves, and pods. Simple
      equipment would allow growers to sell fruit during a longer season, or
      to supply a small juice, canning, or dried fruit business. Expansion
      opportunities would be quite likely to appear. At a higher level,
      educated children can offer IT services. Just as India has taken on
      many outsourced jobs from the US, the towns will outsorce jobs from
      the cities of India when appropriate infrastructure is in place,
      allowing people to live in or near their family villages.

      Many other opportunities would follow, such as shops to supply the
      wants of the no-longer-quite-so-poor, small manufacturing, farm
      equipment and supplies, and the rest of what we have seen in Japan,
      Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and other places at various stages in
      their development. Each of these countries and regions was considered
      an economic basket case at one time or another, due to colonialism,
      wars, and other disasters.

      > My conclusion has been for a long time now that the best USE of the OLPC
      > initiative would be to get information from these poor communities so that
      > we can set about holding the world's leadership accountable for the mess
      > that has been created by a legal and political system that is dysfunctional
      > for pretty much all of the informal sector in the world ... a sector that
      > serves probably well over half the world's population.

      Peter may well be right here. I have often said myself that giving the
      poor a voice could be the function with the greatest impact. Note that
      communication also means the ability to cooperate with each other and
      to make deals with the rest of the world. But dealing with corruption
      and unaccountability is one of the most important activities in any
      society. (And one that the US needs to get back to, also.)

      > As I am often told by my friends the best solutions are when everyone ends
      > up being happy ... the use of OLPC infrastructure to flow information from
      > the community to an accountability system (Community Accountancy) does not
      > preclude having the infrastructure also used for facilitating education, and
      > all sorts of community information activities. I will argue, however, that
      > ignoring the dysfunctionality issues and not having the information to
      > address accountability is a formula for short term comfort and ultimate
      > disaster.

      Well, you are welcome to come into the community and suggest an Open
      Source software project and an educational curriculum for dealing with
      these issues. None of it happens unless someone steps up. It is not
      that we are ignoring any of the genuine issues, but that we are all
      pedaling as fast as we can, and there needs to be a lot more of us.

      > Sincerely
      >
      > Peter Burgess
      > ____________
      > Peter Burgess
      > The Transparency and Accountability Network: Tr-Ac-Net in New York
      > www.tr-ac-net.org
      > Community Accountancy
      > Integrated Malaria Management Consortium (IMMC)
      > 917 432 1191 or 212 772 6918 peterbnyc@...

      --
      Edward Cherlin
      End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
      http://www.EarthTreasury.org/
      "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay
    • Pamela McLean
      Ref recent emails between Peter and Ed (see snipped version below). I agree completely that we need education for entrepreneurship and that we need to open
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 9 1:58 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        Ref recent emails between Peter and Ed (see "snipped" version below).

        I agree completely that we need education for entrepreneurship and that we need to open up communication.

        Now we have the communication systems of 21st century there  is no need for top-down donor-recipient relationships. We can cut out unproductive middle-men and unwieldy bureaucracy. Now the external resources and knowledge can meet local resources and knowledge for a collaboration between equals. MInciu Sodas is enabling this and so is Dadamac http://dadamclean.blogspot.com/

        Pam

        2008/7/9 Edward Cherlin <echerlin@...>:
        On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 10:28 PM, Peter Burgess <peterbnyc@...> wrote:
        (snip)

        > My conclusion has been for a long time now that the best USE of the OLPC
        > initiative would be to get information from these poor communities so that
        > we can set about holding the world's leadership accountable for the mess
        > that has been created by a legal and political system that is dysfunctional
        > for pretty much all of the informal sector in the world ... a sector that
        > serves probably well over half the world's population.

        Peter may well be right here. I have often said myself that giving the
        poor a voice could be the function with the greatest impact. Note that
        communication also means the ability to cooperate with each other and
        to make deals with the rest of the world. But dealing with corruption
        and unaccountability is one of the most important activities in any
        society. (And one that the US needs to get back to, also.)

        > As I am often told by my friends the best solutions are when everyone ends
        > up being happy ... the use of OLPC infrastructure to flow information from
        > the community to an accountability system (Community Accountancy) does not
        > preclude having the infrastructure also used for facilitating education, and
        > all sorts of community information activities. I will argue, however, that
        > ignoring the dysfunctionality issues and not having the information to
        > address accountability is a formula for short term comfort and ultimate
        > disaster.

        Well, you are welcome to come into the community and suggest an Open
        Source software project and an educational curriculum for dealing with
        these issues. None of it happens unless someone steps up. It is not
        that we are ignoring any of the genuine issues, but that we are all
        pedaling as fast as we can, and there needs to be a lot more of us.

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.