SOC: The Challenge of "The Second World" (Was: Argentina economy)

Date: Thu Mar 08 2001 - 07:21:03 MST

Sr. Gonzalia's description of economic and social conditions in Argentina is
consistent with what I've observed in other Latin American "Second World"
countries in my work and travels over the last 20 years and presents a strong
challenge to the program we support as extropians. Yes, technological
progress ought to create opportunities for addressing many of the problems we
see manifest over and over again in societies that have seemed to be trapped
for so long in a kind of static "quasi-modern" state. (See Gabriel
Garcia-Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and "The Autumn of the
Patriarch" for moving depictions of this kind of timeless, frozen condition
in such societies and the people who live in them.) But I've come to
conclude that there are some common phenomena that are essentially skew to
issues of technological progress that cripple societies as seemingly
disparate as Argentina, Chile and Brazil in South America and Thailand,
Malaysia and Indonesia in Southeast Asia.

Working to understand and change the things that have caused this kind of
static condition is just as or perhaps more important than working to
introduce new technologies into such societies and improving the basic
conditions of material life. What is it that societies as disparate as those
we find in Colombia, Nigeria and Burma have in common that has held them back
from the benefits of real modernism? Why have attempts to aid development in
these countries proved so ineffective for so long? Looking at places where
modernism has had a false start seems to me to be as important as studying
those where it has been most successful.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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