All you need is love (and a laptop)

One Laptop Per Child vows to eradicate poverty by giving cheap computers to kids in developing countries. The nonprofit just hired Racepoint Group to build bridges with global media and key digital influencers. The XO children’s laptop is certainly cute—sort of like a Macintosh iBook circa 1999. Still, can the ability to quickly and easily access and share information make the world a better place? The laptops are meant for education. But here’s my worry: All these Third World kids would spend their time trolling around Amazon, Best Buy and Nike, lusting after material goods. You know what that could lead to: hatching business models that would generate funds so they can afford those goods, and employ their neighbors, and improve housing and food distribution, and invest in the infrastructure of their local communities, and build their national economies, and facilitate trade with other countries—bringing the whole process full circle, benefiting the very people who came up with the idea in the first place. Ah-ha. Maybe these OLPC folks are onto something. (And nothing warms an old cynic’s heart like a dose of capitalism.)

—Posted by David Gianatasio