Let Them Eat Mobile Phones

from the that'll-solve-everything dept

Reuters is reporting that African leaders want to buy a bunch of mobile phones because “there are more telephones in Manhattan than in all Africa.” Apparently, if you just add mobile phones to a bunch of poor countries, all else will be solved. I’ve taken a deeper look at this story over at TheFeature, where I compare the situation to the famous “cargo cults” of the South Pacific in World War II, where a confusion over the big picture (and cause and effect) led groups of people to think they could solve all their problems by mimicking the basic actions of others, but not getting to the root causes of the situation. I do think that technology can be a huge help to developing nations, but ad hoc solutions to “just add technology X” are never going to help unless the real issues are addressed first.

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Comments on “Let Them Eat Mobile Phones”

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dorpus says:

What if

Asian students work so hard because they come from a recent history of destroyed civilizations during WW2, and people are eager to build law and order. However, we’re already seeing kids from richer Asian countries become fat and lazy just like Westerners. Could there be a future where African kids grew up amidst a holocaust of AIDS and war, so they work harder? I’m just wondering because I see more African grad students becoming doctors, scientists, and engineers than I do some Asian countries. The tales of economic hardship they tell me is enough to make any privileged Asian kid blush, even the ones from mainland China.

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