Greenstar looks promising, but I am afraid that their current ideas
about ecommerce are not going to succeed. It's ironic that they would
be promoting the idea that these villages can make money selling MP3s and
artwork just when the world is beginning to grapple with the possibility
that such commerce will soon be obsolete.
Occasionally in the past the third world has found itself moving into
new technologies just as the west abandons them, so that the developing
countries find themselves obsoleted before they begin. In order
to prevent this it is necessary for them to perform a leapfrog step,
bypassing the mistakes of the past and moving directly into the future.
Theoretically they have the advantage of not having an established
infrastructure which can put a damper on the rate of change.
Lee Crocker introduced us to the Freenet project a few months ago, which,
along with the better-known Napster and Gnutella, provides a technology
which is intended to support uncensorable and uncontrollable publishing
and sharing of all sorts of information, even proprietary data like
music and images. If these systems succeed, and momentum continues to
move in that direction, a new model will be needed for profiting from
information products. Some work has begun in this area. The creator
of Freenet has indicated that he is trying to put together a commercial
enterprise to develop these ideas.
Without the drag of the big entertainment lobbies like the RIAA and
MPAA trying their best to hold the system to a 100 year old model of
information distribution, third world operators could be ideally situated
to move nimbly into a world in which it is infeasible to prevent sharing
of data. I'm not suggesting that they become havens for pirated data,
rather that Greenstar keep up with what is happening in this area.
Perhaps they could set up some pilot projects for this new model for
ecommerce as it begins to come into existence over the next year or two.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:14:29 MDT