[Oberon] Re. OLPC - One Laptop Per Child

Bob Walkden bob at web-options.com
Fri Dec 15 00:30:34 MET 2006

> And if you snip out all relevant points that address
> your point you can repost something that's already
> been answered.  :) Not to sound "snippy" but let's
> put back some of what you snipped out.
> 1) This isn't just targetted at Africa.  China and
> India are two of the fastest growing economies in
> the world.
> 2) The MIT plan is to sell the laptops to 
> governments who could then distribute them
> to schools.  So it's not up to a "waif child
> to scrape up $100."
> 3) Despite stereotypes to the contrary, there
> are people in these countries that actually
> HAVE the money and can make use of an inexpensive
> laptop.  I gave you the link earlier to 
> http://www.kiva.org.  That sight is geared
> to entreprenuers in some of the poorest countries
> in the world who use the site to procure
> microloans.  Typically such people have to
> pay money to access computers at Internet 
> cafes.  If they could somehow work "offline"
> then upload their work the laptop might pay
> for itself sooner than you might thing.  These
> entreprenuers often take out loans of $100 to
> $500 dollars, but completely pay them back in
> a matter of months.
> So please drop the straw man tunnel vision.
> Yes, everyone knows that a "waif" living ANYWHERE
> (even in America) is unlikely to scrape up
> $100 to buy a laptop.  But nobody is proposing
> that.

How many school age children are there in India? Multiply that number
by $100- and that's how much money you're asking the Indian government
to scrape up without even considering the additional costs of
distribution and maintenance. This is in a country with 35% illiteracy
according to the 2001 census. 

OLPC may be a noble vision, but it sounds naïve to me. What is their
current budget of India for basic primary school education? What are
the priorities of the Indian government in this respect? Basic
literacy, basic healthcare or laptops for children?

India at least is a democracy. How about China? This is a country with
a despicable government which for all intents and purposes enslaves
its people. How much do they spend on education and healthcare for
every child? What's their motivation for buying a laptop for every


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