I think ^(link) therefore I err

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Social Engineering

Via the haves.
In todays NYTimes is a story about one person's idea to send $150 laptops to children in third world countries. It sounds cool.
Small screen, linux operating system, wireless internet capability and ways to re-charge itself when the power is out. But no harddrive. Read the article. What a concept.

But Bill Gates seems to think this is a bad idea. Why?
And Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and a leading philanthropist for the third world, has questioned whether the concept is "just taking what we do in the rich world" and assuming that that is something good for the developing world, too.

Ummm, oftentimes. And computers and internet access are awesome advances in knowledge throughout the world. What a pompous.......

In related news Mick at Uncorrelated writes one of the best posts I've seen on the hated Walmart. Here is the start:
Democrats: Protecting Your Right To Pay Higher Prices

I watched a show recently profiling Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the U.S. next to Bill Gates. Buffet commented that the average middle class family lives better than the 19th century robber-barons, mentioning Rockefeller in particular. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, vast choices in entertainment, abundant food, transportation at a whim.
All true. I remember getting a request for money once from Habitat for Humanity. In it they profiled a poor single woman who needed a new house. They went through her budget which didn't allow for much on a mortgage. That budget included a new car payment (required to get to work) and cable tv (required for her son). Huh?

So now we have Walmart, that allows for even more consumer goods to get into the hands of the poor. For all the pieces against Walmart I've ever read, they don't seem to do anything more than use their spending power to lower their prices even further, giving those shopping there a 25% more bang for their buck.

Yeah, you can talk about loss of the local stores etc, but until people quit using ATMs and automatic checkins at airports or self-check lanes at supermarkets etc, we can't accuse Walmart of being the only folks "taking away local jobs".

Anyway - I got off on a tangent. Read Mick's post.