OLPC

“Helping” Developing Countries – The Mastery of Abuse

The way superpowers and developed countries have spent money in order to „help” developing countries is often highly questionable. The „help” ranges from plaine naive to ruthless neo-colonialism.

What adds insult to injury is that more often than not, the problem was caused by those „helpful” nation-states in the first place. This is a very complex topic that, for now, I will not debate. I’ll just give you the information along with a few short comments.

Before that, however, I’d like to mention that this is not meant to disregard the many efforts that did work well for developing countries, particularly in the field of agriculture, human rights and social development.

Arbitrary Border Creation, or How to Plant the Seeds of Destruction

Take a close look at the shape of borders of countries such as Iraq^, Syria^, Libya^ and Egypt^ to name a few. There are quite a few straight lines. Why? It’s so easy for leaders to draw straight lines to partition territory they’re bickering about. But when they draw a straight line between communities that share the same religion or put vastly different cultures in the same bucket, bloodshed should not come as a surprise.

Then again, those that planted the seeds of destruction probably knew what they were doing. A couple of dictators later though, millions of people worth unimaginable potential have been lost (and billions of dollars in profits from the sale of weapons have been gained).

China’s Belt and Road Initiative

A wonderful example of neo-colonialism^ is China’s BRI:

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/31/asia/china-kenya-belt-road-bri-intl/index.html^

The Great Western Empire (my own name for it) is of course always quick to attack China’s expansionist plans. Perhaps it’s just jealous that China is trying to beat it at its own game.

The $100 Laptop That Wanted to Change the World (and Miserably Failed)

Once upon a time, an idealist computer scientist^ hoped that giving poor children laptops would improve their chances of success in a world where technology plays an ever-increasing role. We will never know if he was right, because the project failed (not with a bang, but with a whimper):

https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/16/17233946/olpcs-100-laptop-education-where-is-it-now^

To be honest, I disagree that throwing plastic and silicon at developing countries would be more helpful than investing in better training for teachers and a large number of social advisors to begin tackling major social issues such as corruption and toxic social stratification (I’m all for diversity, but not at the expense of the value of life).

The Weapon Trade

Recently, I became aware of a company that sells watches made out of metal extracted from confiscated weapons. Their marketing says that buying such a watch “supports peace”. One of their commercials shows Kalashnikovs being destroyed, because of course that’s the only weapon in the world:

https://www.triwa.com/se/page/triwa-x-humanium-metal-pre-order

Pardon me for going: “yeah, destroy the weapons made by the previous superpower so that you can sell new ones”. After all, there’s a lot of people banking on conflict in such nations; there’s fewer and fewer countries on Earth engaged in active war and the weapons industry can’t just die… right?

Oil

No comment.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/south-sudan-150-women-girls-raped-12-days-181204074727376.html^

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/journalist-south-sudan-181214094915498.html^

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