Re: New Government?
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 18:20:50 EDT

In a message dated 99-09-01 18:18:04 EDT, wrote:

> This is theoretical, ivory-tower nonsense you're talking. Most people in
> world are ignorant, abject and poor beyond most Euro-Americans' wildest
> imagination. If investing in "those kids" future had any prospect of
> generating more profit than holding up wet clothes in the sun, it would
> happened years ago. Internet? Most people in the world don't have

The facts you state are true. I'd like to see more discussion of extropian approaches to addressing problems in the Third World. What kinds of realistic economic reforms could we support? What kind of political action? What technologies should we advocate for development in the and for the Third World?

Things like Grameen Bank's micro loans are a very extropic tool for encouraging enterprise in the Third World. I wonder if there are other innovative tools like micro loans. Grameen's cellular telephone company, that focusses on putting just one cell phone into a village as a start, is the kind of thing I think we should look for as programs to highlight as extropic solutions to Third World problems: It is said that villages in Bangladesh that have gotten a phone through this program now get better prices for the cash crops they are able to raise because they are able to check market prices in the city and not be at the mercy of middle-men with better knowledge.

It's true that most people in the world don't have electricity, and I think the West's high-tech industries should be thinking hard about how to distribute the benefits of new technologies into the Third World as swiftly as possible. In my opinion, working to get good power technology into the hundred million villages of the world is as important as any other technological development we could advocate.

Finally, though, I think that the net WILL be crucially important. I've discussed before my idea of building "Brain Seeds": Super-cheap, solar-powered, sat-connected net terminals. I'd like to see design and development of such a tool become an industry-wide initiative in Silicon Valley and then competition among the high-tech billionaires there to support production and distribution of these as a philanthropic "gold standard". Development of a privately-supported network of web-sites offering basic literacy training and sound agricultural and village management advice could then become a way that almost anyone could participate in lifting the bottom third of humanity up out of abject poverty (and also of providing those hundred million villages a way to hear truth that their local tin-pot tyrant wants to quash).

     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                      -- Thomas Huxley