Brian D Williams wrote:
> There is a new book out all about Grameen Bank, it's founder, and
> history. I've been facinated by the concept ever since I heard
> about it. I hope there's info about the cellular effort in there as
> well. The problem with cellular of course is that you still require
> expensive infrastructure..... It might be an interesting idea for
> the world bank to buyout Irridium and use it for this purpose....
> Microloaning is well within the realm for US to do.....
How about microloaning to Americans in America? In Appalachia, or Watts, or in hells kitchen? We do have our own micro cultures of third world level development.
> The Extropian MicroBank.....
> >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.
> Solar is good for this, as are various Cogeneration ideas.
Solar is the most expensive source of generation available (20 to 75 cents per kwh). Micro-wind turbines on the other hand are quite cost effective for small third world applications, even with nomadic peoples. The hand cranked devices like radios, flashlights, and Apple's forthcoming hand cranked laptop are also an excellent technology. One technology I have not seen however, that I think is being ignored, possibly because of vegan agendas of many aid workers against domestic animals, is the use of an electric generator powered by domestic animals like donkeys, cows, horses, etc. These animals are generation plants that most third world people already own (where do you think the phrase 'horsepower' came from anyways?), so this greatly decreases the investment requirements both by the third world populations as well as by aid organizations or governments. Encouraging third world communities to build cogeneration systems based on the common fuels they are used to leads both to deforestation and additional CO2/CO contribution to the levels of human pollution, as third world populations use the lowest grade fuels available: wood, coal, dung, and raw oil.
However, keep in mind that the only benefits that internet connectivity can offer to third world populations in remote areas is to lower costs of education, and lower costs to market unique cultural crafts to the world market, that are, while beneficial, secondary to the primary needs of most of these people to feed themselves, obtain health care, and survive often turbulent weather and political climates.