Clinton's Digital Divide NewMarkets Tour
rubyji at metalab.unc.edu
Wed Apr 5 13:02:48 EDT 2000
I'm not sure where you got the idea that my distaste for the President and
his capitalist priorities mean that I do not think this is an important
issue that needs to be addressed. In fact, it's been the focus of my work
for the past 3 years!
But for the record, I don't think the main reason that technology needs to
be democratized is so that people can spend more money.
On Wed, 5 Apr 2000, Rachel Cox wrote:
>At 05:32 PM 4/4/00 -0400, Ruby Sinreich wrote:
> >"New markets?" We should empower poor poeple so they can buy more stuff!
>Wow. Talk about a cynical oversimplification of a complex and
>difficult issue - and without a single realistic alternative,
>too. Indeed, without any alternative. I'm impressed.
>Yes, there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed in
>order to cure poverty in America, and the programs outlined don't
>address all of them. However, not addressing *all* of them at a
>pop doesn't mean that addressing *some* of them is wrong, or
>should be cause for scorn or ridicule.
>After all, kids *do* need to be technologically literate in order
>to succeed in the coming years. I shudder to think at what a
>disadvantage kids will be now if they don't have solid computer
>skills. And I'm not talking about having to go to a bookstore
>because they can't figure out how to use Amazon. And it's clear
>that the kids who are not getting this training are the ones who
>are already at an economic disadvantage. So yes, there are all
>kinds of problems that need to be addressed, including these.
>*Not* getting "poor people" access to the Internet is not going
>to *help* them at all; I strongly believe - and I think there's
>a certain amount of evidence, even among folks on this very list -
>that having IT skills can only improve employability and salary
>potential, perhaps even helping some poor people become not-poor
>people. It certainly did me. I also can't think why it would be
>bad to try to get folks involved in communities, to try to help
>and teach and learn; why it would be bad to encourage and enable
>young women to go into computers; or how information literacy
>programs are nothing more than devices of the Powers That Be
>to separate poor people from the money they don't have.
>The term "new markets" has also been used in the context of
>bringing new business into poverty-stricken, neglected areas
>of the inner city and rural America - is this also a bad thing,
>intended only to get more money from people who don't have any
>to begin with? How about seeing it as a way to get people jobs?
>Or is employment, too, just a way to make poor people spend money?
>After all, the point of a job is to *make* money - if they don't
>have any money, we can't sell stuff to them, so we bring new
>business in and get them jobs so they can buy stuff (like, say,
>diapers or soup), ergo, we're Evil Capitalist Pigs. But at least
>we don't suppose that poor people can live on sunshine and good
>Best regards from your friendly local pragmatist -
>Speaking, as always, only for myself.
>tired of being an underappreciated functionary in a soulless machine?
> hesketh.com is hiring: http://hesketh.com/careers/
> Rachel Cox | voice: 919.834.2552 x16 | http://www.hesketh.com
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R u b y S i n r e i c h
rubyji at metalab.unc.edu
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