RE: SOC/TECH: Greenstar <--- MUST SEE

From: altamira (
Date: Mon Jun 26 2000 - 09:57:04 MDT

Athough I'm enthuiastic about the technological aspects of the project I
agree with Robin about the economics, and also about the greater benefit of
microloans. As I mentioned in another post, you're not going to get the
greatest benefit from the technology if it's installed as a pre-designed
package. You HAVE to design it on-site.

I also mentioned the feasibility of small manufacturing enterprises now that
we have the internet--also there's some very exciting technology around that
would allow for custom design of many products to suit the individual
customer, and equipment that's small enough and inexpensive enough to be
purchased by a few individuals or by a village.

I think the greatest progress could be made by the gift of information. The
internet. And freedom to invent, not pre-packaged ideas. Give people the
internet, and turn them loose.


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Robin Hanson

> I am highly skeptical of the economics of this enterprise. It seems
> driven by self-indulgence of rich engineers. Comparisons across poor
> countries, regions, and individuals almost never show any substantial
> health effect of variations in medical spending or water and sanitation.
> And the idea that random isolated villages could recoup $100K investments
> via ecommerce seems just ludicrous, even if the equipment isn't
> just stolen.
> It seems far better to me to stick with the microloan approach. Give them
> a financial incentive to find the best projects, and then let them
> tell you what projects they think will recoup their investments.
> Robin Hanson
> Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
> MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
> 703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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