Re: [-empyre-] Re: empyre digest, Vol 1 #129

> >  A couple of examples for Jun-Ann.
> >  1. I read about how the Grameen Bank in India and Bangladesh gives micro

> >phone to call relatives, friends or commercial contacts.
> How about cheap loans to buy grain that isn't genetically modified by
> Monsanto so that farmers can then use the seeds to regrow their crops.
> Instead, they are encouraged to buy into the McDonalds desire Inc to own a
> mobile phone to chat to friends. Yes loans to mostly women, because they
> will sit and talk for hours? How sexist is that? Bangladeshi sexist.
> Did you know that there is a real health problem arising from arsenic
> occurring in Bangladesh water wells?
> And what of their floods? How about some solid money spent on
> infrastructure to save lives?
> In this instance, I say f**k the phone. Use a pigeon.

Before you condemn the bank, you might want to know that the large portion
of their micro-loans are in fact for things like seeds, dairy cows, and
handcraft tools.  And the reason that they loan to women is that they have
been found to be more reliable and have a better impact on families and
health in the communities.  While it might be nice to talk about the
outfits at the Oscars, I think the phones are often used for things like
getting news, calling mom for advice about the kids, calling doctors or
arranging to sell a cow. Anyway, they are not marketing the use of the
phone to women, only enabling the women to be the entrepreneurs.  I don't
see how it's sexist at all.  

I think you should send your next email via pidgeon.  There's actually an
official RFC on "IP Over Avian Carriers".

> >  2. I read that in Shenzhen a few years ago it was very popular for
> >public squares where there's one of these cells.
> Therein lies the plug. "Popular". It's pretty useless if you can't phone
> out beyond that radius. It defeats the purpose of phone technology. Why not
> buy a walkie talkie instead? And that's a one off cost.
> It's easy to quote these instances but they are far more enlightening if
> seen from the larger context of agendas and Govt policy and intent.

Well if you can't afford a nice GSM phone, might one of these help you if
you are a mobile worker?  Maybe I didn't explain properly.  These are real
phones.  You can call as far away as canada or Djbouti, although most
people probably call the dispatcher, the warehouse or home.  You can't
call the office on a walkie talkie unless you are standing next to it.
You just have to stand near one of these small antenna's to use these

I mean what are you suggesting here?  That we need to go back to the

Why do little babies die?  Maybe we should all drop everything and work
until we find a cure.  No more football or birthday parties until every
social and medical ill is solved.  

My point was to show that technology can be useful and empowering to
people on the bottom of the GNP pyramid...  That not all widgets and
inventions are superfluous.  I'll be the first to agree that a huge
proportion of new tech is of dubious social benefit but not all technolgy
is there to advance a greedy imperial agenda.  I'm just trying to give
some examples of positive strategies.  Maybe it's a cop out and Karl Marx
would be disappointed, but I'd rather come up with something small but
effective than dwell on the depressing amount of injustice in the world
and who to blame for it.


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