[Air-l] air-l Digest, Vol 23, Issue 6

Eduardo Villanueva evillan at gmail.com
Wed Jun 7 15:51:00 PDT 2006

Hello All

I think there are too many different arguments mixed all together, in a
rather inadequate way. I strongly dislike the OLPC project, mostly for the
reasons explained at http://macareo.pucp.edu.pe/evillan/shdf.htm, but I do
believe that my arguments, as well as many of the arguments proposed in this
discussion, are valid for a specific subset of "developing" countries, and
even inside those developing countries, some regions or groups are to be
considered under a different perspective.

Inequality is wrong, I concur; at the same, unless capitalism is completely
replaced by something else, it is an inevitable consequence of an specific
economic structure. Programmes like OLPC try to soften or lower inequality,
but besides their shortcomings, they cannot even attempt to make inequality

The fact that these computers are "down-market" is not a problem per se. If
(a big if) a proper usage is found, they can be adequate, since they are not
trying to replace a full-blown PC connected to high bandwidth networks and
used for downloading videos from a Torrent. It is. again, a question of
purpose, not of specific technology. I'm against the purpose and the
specific implementation of such purpose.

This is a necessary debate, since it is most possible that governments of
developing countries are going to get scammed into buying thousands of these
machines without a critical assessment of what exactly to do with them and
what exactly should be the outcome of their usage in educational settings.
More voices from the "affected" communities should be welcomed.

Take care and have fun

Eduardo Villanueva
Communications Department
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

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