Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Dec 2011 16:22 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless It all started with Apple/TechCrunch blogger M.G. Siegler making a huge fuss over something he didn't understand, and while that in and of itself isn't particularly interesting, one of the outcomes of this little internet drama is a comment on Google+ (the tenth one) that so perfectly encapsulates just how important Android is for the world that I felt the need to share it with you. It's the holiday season after all.
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Too optimistic about poor countries.
by wannabe geek on Fri 30th Dec 2011 02:31 UTC
wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

Don't get me wrong, I very much like Android, openness and the idea of helping the poor by all means available, including information technology.

But does anyone really think poor countries are poor just because they don't have smartphones where they can surf the web and look up how to become rich?

Rich countries became rich with pen and paper, chalk and cupboard. They did because enough people in those countries had the right ideas and attitude, with which they built for themselves the right kind of society and government. New information technologies can help spread good ideas, but also bad ones.

There are lots of good reasons to like Android and open source in general, no need to make it all about the poor, no need for Google to compete with Mother Teresa.

Reply Score: 2

benir0 Member since:
2006-07-26

I understand where you are coming from, but there is a whole continuum wealth in countries all over the world. In some places, they want for food or pen and paper as you say. In some places, the availability of a relatively cheap and open mobile device will absolutely be a game changer.

Reply Parent Score: 3

macUser Member since:
2006-12-15

So what you're saying is that as long as there is at minimum:

*Reliable Excess Power
*Cellular network infrastructure and/or wireless network infrastructure.
*Income to pay for above services.

Android is revolutionary.

What other caveats must be met to jump on this revolution?

Reply Parent Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Rich countries became rich with pen and paper, chalk and cupboard. They did because enough people in those countries had the right ideas and attitude, with which they built for themselves the right kind of society and government.


Countries don't become rich because the people have the "right ideas and attitudes". They become rich by having access to trade and outside technology, abundant supplies of natural resources, good transport etc (big rivers, suitable ports etc).

America originally became rich by stealing land and using slaves to grow cotton and tobacco.

Argentina went from rich to poor because it was excluded from the European beef trade by the Common Market in the 1950s.

Reply Parent Score: 4

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

Blaming other countries, claiming that rich countries are rich because they are more evil, is part of the kind of wrong ideas which keep countries poor. Some of the worst human rights violations happened and still happen every day in poor countries. Slavery is still a reality in many dirt-poor countries, and it does no good to their economies. Natural resources are relevant, but not decisive. Most of the richest countries sell technology and services, and they buy raw materials from less wealthy countries. Japan did not became rich by exporting meat.

When you say "outside technology" you mean Western technology. Backwards countries win nothing from having access to each other's inexistent technologies. The question is, how was this technology developed in the first place, and how it is maintained.

Everyone wants to be rich and powerful. The first step is to leave the sour grapes mentality behind.

I don't know about you, but I spent the first 13 years of my life in Argentina and I think it's a textbook example of what I'm saying. Argentina became rich by having a constitution and a government inspired by those of America. Then it lost its track and it has been in decadence since before JD Peron, but paticularly afterwards, with thieving military juntas sending public debt through the roof, opposed by Marxist youths and guerrillers. Meat agreements played no role in that.

Reply Parent Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

But does anyone really think poor countries are poor just because they don't have smartphones where they can surf the web and look up how to become rich?

Rich countries became rich with pen and paper, chalk and cupboard. They did because enough people in those countries had the right ideas and attitude, with which they built for themselves the right kind of society and government. New information technologies can help spread good ideas, but also bad ones.


I don't think anybody expects miracles / promises golden mountains, but the discussed piece should bring some improvement.
Just like "plain" mobile phones already do (at the least - economic benefits of people not being so much at the mercy of ~traders higher up in the chain, when they can have for the first time distant contact with prices; social of keeping desired ties with relatives & their events without the time waster of a group of people who actually walked from village to village, to disseminate news about births, funerals, etc.; or medical, you can guess this one)

And sure, it might help also some bad ideas - but it's about balance in the end, and I believe it's on the good side by now.
Communication and integration is crucial - that's what the EU is really about ...come on, over half a century without war between countries involved in European structures - almost unreal, unthinkable, the whole history of Christian Europe is that of virtually constant conflict.
(OK, there was Algeria... sort of a French Civil war, technically an integral part of France IIRC; but technically also not Europe, and really more a sad remnant of colonialism)


BTW colonialism and such, don't forget to mention 'bad' "right ideas and attitude" thanks to which the presently rich countries are also prosperous... it's in large part a self-perpetuating circle, even an avalanche of sorts - once you're ahead in some key areas it results in you making easier strives forward; even blocking others if, say, resources (their trade usually involves a very long-term deals ...even under a thread of wars in historically recent time) and brain drain (natural, to "better" places) are involved.


Furthermore, the line dividing our world doesn't really go "prosperous vs. poor" (aka "starving" according in the view of many, it seems) - there are many places where basic needs are OK, but which could really benefit from much more affordable information technologies.

Edited 2012-01-06 00:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2