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Kofi pushes the hundred dollar laptop and the internet takeover gets started

I recall how, a few months back, during all the fuss about Making Poverty History by having a singsong, well dressed and articulate Africans were to be seen on our television screens explaining, throughout the week in question, that, actually, just chucking money at Africa would not really solve the problem. In fact, some of them said, it could well make things worse by making it less necessary for the governments that hoovered up most of the money to earn their money, so to speak, by taxing their own misgoverned and hence impoverished people. (I use the word “earn” in a very relative sort of sense here.)

Last night, the same thing happened again. Kofi Annan had been enthusing about that now quite famous hundred dollar laptop. And once again, well dressed and articulate Africans was summoned to the studios, and they said that, actually, if you are looking for a way to spend a hundred dollars on an African child, you could do a whole lot better than spend in on a laptop computer.

Victor Keegan also waxes enthusiastic about the hundred dollar laptop in the Guardian today, being understandably reluctant to enthuse about the other hot topic at the big UN shindig in Tunis where the hundred dollar laptop was being promoted, which is the UN plan to take over the internet.

But until the UN puts its own house in order by controlling member states imposing censorship on the web, such as China and Tunisia, it won’t have the moral authority – let alone the management skills – to do the job itself.

Quite so, although I do not like that “until”. My attitude to the internet is simple. It ain’t bust. Don’t unfix it by putting the UN in charge of it, ever. However, as it says here (you need to scroll past the woes of Sony):

The battle for control of the Net ended peacefully before the fight even began, but some are still unhappy with the outcome.

Me included. What they mean is that lots of people wanted more done on this front. I wanted less than they have already done, which is that they have set up a completely powerless talking shop to discuss “internet governance”. And if you believe that the plan is for this talking shop to do nothing but talk for ever and be completely powerless for ever, then you will believe anything.

Although the hundred dollar laptop could not possibly be as big a catastrophe as the UN’s planned strangulation of the internet, it could nevertheless waste a lot of money and cause a lot of grief. Imagine not having had any food for two days and being presented with one of these contraptions, as will surely happen to many wretched Africans if this boondoggle goes ahead.

As Tim Worstall explained at the ASI blog over a month ago, a posting that Kofi Annan has clearly not read but should have, that hundred dollar price assumes huge production runs, and also assumes that the various governments who are supposed to pay for these things will also bear the further costs of explaining to people how they work and of mending them when they go wrong. Worse, if these devices are to supply the internet connections that they are supposed to, these governments may have to contrive communicational infrastructure that does not now exist,. As Worstall points out, the kind of people now getting most enthusiastic about this gadget are also the kind of people who are most opposed to the idea of making aid conditional on things like that being done more sensibly.

Even at a hundred dollars, as the well dressed Africans were pointing out last night, these thing are absolutely not a bargain for an African child. Schooling for a year would make more sense. Better food would be nice.

On the face of it, making a kind of global Volkswagen of laptops is appealing. But the more usual method for making cheap stuff is for it to be made expensively first, and checked out by rich organisations and rich people, and then gradually – or, as often happens, not so gradually – cheapened. This is what is happening anyway with computers, and even more spectacularly with mobile phones, which already are hundred dollar portable computers with communication built in, if you think about it. Keegan mentions the success of cheap mobile phones in Africa, but does not seem to have absorbed the lesson of that success, which is that mobile phones are, it turns out, a whole lot easier to use in Africa than laptops. Ah yes, but those mobiles are being used to do business, not being given to the kiddies.

You get the feeling that Kofi Annan is really only trying to make the UN look necessary and useful, instead of a big pointless coagulation of corruption and foolishness which he is now unwilling or unable to clean up. Here, he reckons, is his chance to say that “Business isn’t supplying this, but hey! – we can!”. The truth is that they can probably not do this but that bad old big business maybe soon will and in many ways already is doing it. If it ever does make sense for Africa’s children all to have laptops, this will surely not be until the price of them goes down to something nearer to ten dollars than a hundred. My guess is they will all have mobiles long before then.

42 comments to Kofi pushes the hundred dollar laptop and the internet takeover gets started

  • Josh

    One benifit of giving Africa cheap laptops:
    They can babelfish their language into English and instantly communicate with people who don’t live in economic basket cases.

    So after their whole continent has a sudden change of management (whenever), we could start sending them cheap laptops and CHANGE THE WORLD AND STUFF, MAN.

  • D Anghelone


    Monday, January 8, 1996


    “This week, in an important change of policy, France Telecom, the state-owned telecommunications monopoly, will announce plans to become a mass-market Internet operator.”


    “France Telecom is not giving up on its investment in Minitel, however. The company believes that the teletex system will continue to meet the needs of most users in France for many years.”


    “Despite such advantages, many experts say the Minitel system is a dead end on the Information Highway. Now, France’s principal objective is “to make access to the Internet possible for all French citizens, at a price which is attractive and the same anywhere in the country,” in the words of the technology minister, François Fillon. France Telecom was quickly able to meet this target by routing Internet traffic along the same Transpac network it developed for the Minitel.”

  • You get the feeling that Kofi Annan is really only trying to make the UN look necessary

    Spot on! This is precisely Mr. Anna’s point and he has no concern of any more importance in his worldview.

    Given recent statements by Mr. Bolton, I believe Annan is likely (or likely should be at any rate) very worried about his own position…

    In the United States, there is a broadly shared view that the U.N. is one of many potential instruments to advance U.S. issues, and we have to decide whether a particular issue is best done through the U.N. or best done through some other mechanism. ..Can the U.S. find a substitute for the U.N.?(Link)

    To wit, all I can say is God Bless Mr. Bolton. This may well have been the best appointment Bush has yet made..


  • by the way, I tried to use the word B I N G O but the software running this blog seemed to believe that implied a spam message…

    On a suspicion that this might be a particularly British thing, I substituted the “Spot on” term in the blog above and of course it was perfectly acceptable. 🙂

  • Brock

    This laptop is being marketed to Brazil, Egypt and other ‘mid-tier’ countries who have mostly solved the ‘starving to death / no clean water’ problems. They’re actually just at the stage of development where these laptops could be quite useful.

  • I liked this part in the Guardian article – logic of that news outlet:

    it can be sold for one tenth of the price of a commercial computer because it uses free open source software, doesn’t need to earn big profits and doesn’t need a marketing budget.

    Why doesn’t it need to earn big profits? Who’s going to manufacture it profit-free? A government-owned manufacturing company? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Russians try something like that last century and it didn’t work?

  • From a couple of articles in The Economist:

    America has offered olive branches to its critics….it supported the idea of a forum in which all governments can discuss these matters in an “evolutionary process”. That sounds like an excellent scheme: just as startling as the speed of technological development is the slowness of decision-making in international forums. If this move works, it should succeed in parking the issue harmlessly for many years.

  • Verity

    In my naiveté, I just can’t figure out how the UN got a role in all this at all. And why is anyone answering them, or discussing anything with them? They have no role. Why are we discussing this with them?

    It is like giving Hitler or Pol Pot a role in discussing the rules of warfare.

  • Robin Goodfellow

    The idea of cheap laptops is nice, but ultimately it’s a mostly worthless gesture. How useful is a laptop to somebody who isn’t even literate? What will keep the poor from selling their laptop to the highest bidder locally? How do you plan to leapfrog into internet connectivity for areas where most of the people do not even have phone service and couldn’t afford it even if it was available?

    You really just can’t game the system like this. It doesn’t work. It’s like all welfare schemes. There’s a real difference between people earning their way toward a better quality of life and people who are given welfare payments and inexpensive housing to try to artificially force the process. As history has shown again and again (just recently France has been a good example), it doesn’t work. Even at the same income level, it makes a huge difference whether the money comes from a welfare check or a paycheck. It’s the classic fish vs. fishing issue. And as much as people try to say that a cheap laptop could aid education, I doubt it would be as effective as an equivalent expenditure of time / money in more traditional educational means like books and teachers.

    What’s needed for the poor is not cheap laptops but real, substantive change that enables economic growth. Things like good, straightforward property law, free markets, freedom of expression, a lack of corrupt governance, etc.

  • Brian

    I regret to report that when I hear of things like this, I get the uneasy sensation that thieving hands are reaching into my pocket. Am I the only one?

  • 1327

    An ex-colleague of mine was involved in one of the British schemes where some children (aged around 11 in this case) were given laptops. The idea being they used them at school and took them home for homework. Well that was the idea but in actual fact the childrens older siblings stole them to sell and the children were mugged for them outside school. Plus there was an incredible number of laptops going faulty as pencils went into screens , objects were put into disk drives and schoolbags with laptops in them were used as makeshift goalposts. He believed the scheme was quietly abandoned after less than a year. Back then laptops cost around 800 UK pounds so I shudder to think how many text books this money could have bought.

  • I am undecided on the value of these laptops. Certainly the fact that you have to mass-produce them to get the cost down to $100 is a problem…who will produce them, for example?

    On the other note, the ‘Net squabble…I agree that any governance over the Internet is unacceptable. It will be the beginning of the end. The US govt has done an OK job of not micromanaging it and therefore letting it flourish.

    The UN will not be able to replicate such results, and there is almost no chance in hell the Internet would function as we know it today after the UN passes a couple unneccessary and unfair resolutions. Resolutions which will likely be aimed at limiting US power. I’d rather see the US simply let the UN and EU control their own separate Internet. Like the New Hampshire license plates say “live free or die” and it should apply to the Internet.

    A post on this at my blog: http://www.quickrob.com/weblog/?p=422

  • Jacob

    Has the UN ever produced anything cheap ?
    Only talk. Talk is cheap.

  • Verity

    To repeat. Why is anyone listening to a word Kofi Annan says about the internet or anything else? How did the UN shoehorn itself into this discussion?

    Why is the world according them credence when they haven’t any?

    The laptop idea is a typical one-worlder, pointless grandstand of “caring”. All of a sudden these basket case countries are going to be able to provide everyone with internet access? Somebody please give me a break!

    Also, I don’t believe in giving people things free. Once internet access becomes available, those who want it will find a way to afford it. If they want it but still can’t afford it, tough.

    This is a typical communist topdown solution and they don’t work, as 100 years has proved. This plan needs to be knocked on the head pronto. And Kofi and the EU need to be told to butt out of capitalist tools. Come to think of it, Kofi also needs to be knocked on the head pronto.

  • Walter_E_Wallis

    Sure – if a nickel of the hundred dollars got to the classroom I would be amazed. If the laptops were useless in trade the incentive to steal them or peddle them would be gone. Perhaps a requirement to be reset with an administrative code every week or so.

  • Patrick

    The sickest part of it is that it is transparently crap. By the time any significant distribution of these laptops occurs, Dell (for example) will announce their entry into the African market with txt message ordering and microfinancing payments in conjunction with establised microfinance lenders, making themselves Mr Dell, hundreds of new african employees etc, that much richer and Africa that much better off.

    Except maybe he won’t, because the eternal promise of these $100 laptops just around the corner might kill his market.

    But beyond any shadow of a doubt, there exist clear, defined development goals in Africa. There exist clear, established and largely functioning distribution channels for that aid, which has clear, undisputed, immediate, real benefits.

    All this is is extortion. The UN needs to devote the next, say, 10 years to administrative reform (I call it ‘downsizing’), nothing else.

    My first step: Countries that haven’t had 25 years of passable and continuous electoral democracies have to have UN-sponsored elections for their UN representative – hey, if we extend it to 55, we include all of Europe outside the nordics and swiss!!

  • David Fleck

    As this article points out, these laptops don’t actually exist at the moment.

  • Joshua

    C’mon – give Kofi a break. The solution is simple! We’ll just pass a resolution to start calling 10-dollar-bills 1-dollar-bills instead. (1-dollar-bills will be “pennies,” thus accomplishing what the Congress won’t by taking the useless coins out of circulation. See? Two birds with one stone. These UN types think of everything. Clever people.)

  • Verity

    Patrick says: But beyond any shadow of a doubt, there exist clear, defined development goals in Africa.

    And those, Patrick, have to be defined by the Africans in their own countries. Not a bunch of thugs and kleptomaniacs sitting in lavish offices in the East Side of Manhattan.

    The UN needs to devote the next, say, 10 years to administrative reform (I call it ‘downsizing’), nothing else.

    I could drink to that, although I would like to see the “downsizing” sized down to zero employees, zero faxes, zero computers, zero Toyota four-wheel drives, zero plane tickets, zero expense accounts and zero phone lines. Anyone who wants to “help” Africa should be – with the permission of the immigration department of whichever country they want to “help”, to freelance de-gooders on their own dollar.

  • David Fleck

    Some more informed nay-saying here, and here.

  • Verity

    Thank you, David Fleck. I love this sentence:

    “If it were possible to mass-produce a $100 laptop today, it would have been done — there is no more ferocious margin-cutting feature-sensitive jungle than that of the PC industry.”

    And again, it is not the job of the West to give laptops or anything else to Africans. If they want them, they have to figure out ways to get them, and if this involves divesting themselves of grim governments, they should be encouraged to do that. First things first.

  • Gengee

    it probably asks more questions than it answers but (Link) These people are supposed to make it easier for us to communicate across borders, and on the whole they have done a reasonable job. I can phone or email people in China, that is what the ITU has enabled, over a lot of years.
    What happens internally, different matter, that may be a place for the UN to browbeat its members to not tap phonecalls and read their citizens email.

    On the other subject, I work out of Africa, I spend a couple of afternoons a month actually on the continent. 30 kids in a ‘classroom’ $3000 would put a roof on it and probably buy a few desks and chairs and a few books, it would also pay the teacher for a few months, in my opinion a far better way to spend the cash.


  • Verity

    Gengee: “I spend a couple of afternoons a month actually on the continent.” You fly to the continent of Africa for a couple of afternoons a month? Well, frankly, I love dilettantes, but how do you define “an afternoon”? From one until five, say? And afterwards, what? You’re helicoptered back to your yacht off Tangiers?

    Sorry, Gengee, much taken as I am with this statement, Africa is a black hole and I don’t care how much money it would cost to put a roof on a school or how much desks and chairs cost. I couldn’t care less. They’ve had something around 100bn dollars in aid for the last 50 years. If they can’t put a roof on a school or buy desks by now, I honestly don’t give a monkey’s. If they are determined to be a hopeless, corrupt continent, despite your twice monthly visit, then sorry, but that is their fate.

    Gengee adds: What happens internally, [in the UN] different matter, that may be a place for the UN to browbeat its members to not tap phonecalls and read their citizens email.

    And the UN has the power to browbeat its masters how?

  • Axel Kassel

    Kofi would be less enthusiastic about the $100-laptop idea if a UN staffer had not told him it was a kind of dance.

  • The laptop scheme is likely to be largely funded by the commercial sale of $200 laptops of identical specifications (500Mhz Red Hat Linux boxes). There’s an awful lot you can do with a simple laptop of that capability and I predict that people will buy them. I certainly would.

    The major reason that nobody’s done this up until now is that nobody’s been able to come up with a $35 screen. It’s only very recently been demonstrated that you can use ink jet printer technology to create ultra-cheap screens.

    I think that what the MIT consortium does with its profits from those $200 laptops is nobody’s business. If they want to provide $100 laptops to the emerging 2nd world, that’s fine by me.

  • Julian Taylor

    This ties in quite nicely with the oft-shelved plans for a UN Open Online Network- like AOL, only without the limitations of having to worry about paying for the cost of it. Imagine the ‘benefits’ of a UN Open University coupled with ‘free’ (i.e. subsidised by First World guilt) $100 laptops.

    Of course you then have to apply the reality check to such a brave UN endeavour. First of all we have the United Nation’s famous worldwide distribution system so $100 laptops now become $5,000 laptops once they enter the UN’s ‘what the hell it’s not as if its OUR money’ system. Then we can add to that the corruption levels of the UN as well as the endemic local corruption in countries ranging from Nigeria (second worst on the planet) through to Zimbabwe; so these $5100 laptops now end up being sold in bulk back to the West as a novelty present for some future Christmas. Of course if they do do their job in the ntended countries such as Brazil, Zambia etc. then all well and good.

    By the way, can anyone shed some light on why these machines need FOUR USB ports? If you’re going to attach that many devices to them then the poor kids are going to suffer some serious dehydration with all that cranking they will have to do to generate power.

  • Verity

    Julian Taylor writes: “Of course if they do do their job in the ntended countries such as Brazil, Zambia etc. then all well and good.”

    No. Computers are not a human right, any more than are refrigerators or cars. I can see helping underdeveloped (by their own fault) countries to get clean drinking water. And I can see the West providing medicine for child-killing diseases.

    After that, they’re on their own.

    This dependency on the developed (through our own efforts) West is revolting.

  • Daveon

    This is what is happening anyway with computers, and even more spectacularly with mobile phones, which already are hundred dollar portable computers with communication built in, if you think about it.

    Umm… actually, this isn’t really the case. The cost for a typical high tier Mobile which can do the really cool things remains stuck up there in the $500 to buy without contract, with a baseline BOM (Bill of Materials) well north of $150.

    You *can* build low end mobiles with BOM of $50 or much much less (lowest I’ve seen broken down was a theorectical BOM of $15) , but you’re not getting a portable computer – you’re getting something which makes calls. v. cool, but not really a computer.

    The reason you can pick up, for example a P910i or SPV-500M (both really able computing platforms) for £50 or free at a shop is the operator are basically giving it to you on the principal that you are going to given them a lot more than the sales price in call revenue over the 12-18 months you own the phone. This is a habit the operators got into back in the early 90s to get us hooked into their product, not unlike deallers giving free samples. The problem they have now is, that when they try and push the product back up to list price the market votes with their feet. So the phone market is a great example of unintended consequences for the operators. But, that’s a whole new argument.

    I’m not convinced by the $100 laptop myself – although there is an argument that constrained platforms lead to much better software engineers than running after Moore’s Law.

  • Daveon

    This dependency on the developed (through our own efforts) West is revolting.

    Rubbish, it’s self interest Verity.

    The west needs markets and global companies need healthy and better trained/educated workforces for low costs industries.

    It can be dressed up as being nice and warm and fluffy but it’s not really anything of the sort.

  • Verity

    Self-interest in Africa has not worked for 50 years. It is not going to start working because you give them computers.

    Self-interest tells me to write these people off until they can pay their way. They’re only markets for our charity.

    Brazil has a large economy and a large middle class. Let their own taxpayers pay for their computers.

    Re Zambia – some computers are not going to change the corruption, power-of-the-big-man, we’re-victims-of-the-west mentality. It’s in the interest of the UN to keep these countries as clients.

    The only thing we should now do for Africa is open our markets to them unreservedly.

  • Patrick

    Me: But beyond any shadow of a doubt, there exist clear, defined development goals in Africa.

    Verity: And those, Patrick, have to be defined by the Africans in their own countries. Not a bunch of thugs and kleptomaniacs sitting in lavish offices in the East Side of Manhattan.

    Actually, Verity, although I understand the sentiment, you are quite wrong. Letting Aficans deigine the spending priorities of other people’s money has led to exactly what one might expect from letting one group of people spend other people’s money. By all means, Africans should decide how to spend their own money, but we should retain control over how to spend any of our money we choose to give them.

  • Julian Taylor

    The only thing we should now do for Africa is open our markets to them unreservedly.

    Absolutely spot on!

  • Verity

    “Letting Aficans deigine the spending priorities of other people’s money has led to exactly what one might expect from letting one group of people spend other people’s money.”

    No more “other people’s money”, Patrick. They’ve had a 50 year run on charity. It creates dependency and they have become welfare clients with “entitlements”. Well, not in my book. Fifty years of failure means … it doesn’t work.

    I see Julian agrees with me. Let them into our marketplaces to earn their own living in the rough and tumble of capitalism. Let them make legitimate fortunes in our markets by selling us stuff we want at prices we don’t mind paying. I am betting there are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs on the continent who would love a chance to give it a go.

    The ones who succeed will raise everyone’s boat, which is the name of the game. But no more welfare. No free computers.

  • Gengee

    you were very close it does involve a helicopter, I fly in and either overnight and/or, if I arrive in the early hours, go to a heliport where I am whisked away, not unfortunately to my yacht, but to the Oil Rig where I work for a month. From my nice airconditioned bus, I can see schools, many do not have roofs, kids can be seen sitting in rows on the floor. As the post was about laptops I was merely commenting that a roof and some desks might be of more use to these kids than one of those.

    The internally comment was regarding the countries which do not allow unfettered access to the internet.
    The UN can at the very least bring pressure to bear on the countries which are signatories to its charter. I don’t expect that it will help, but it would be good to at least see an attempt.

    I tend to agree with you regarding Africa, it is a cesspool, it is dominated by an elite who will not give up power and are corrupt to the bone. The AID that Africa has had should have made it a fantastic continent, but it has failed. The sad part is Africa does not and never did need any AID, it has more ‘wealth’ just in natural resources than you can shake a very large stick at. Unfortunately a lot of the revenue is squandered or stolen by corrupt dictatorial governments, and because they are all implicated it becomes almost impossible to condemn, for instance, Robert Mugabe. The ‘Old Boy’ network that will not condemn people in power for their crimes, is one steeped in fear, a deep fear for their own positions.


  • Patrick

    Hey! I agree with you on the point that Julian Taylor does. But I can’t agree that ‘we’ should or should not given them money, except inasmuch as ‘we’ is the our governments – Bill Gates seems to get considerable pleasure from it, and why shouldn’t he? Private charity is, I think, almost always commendable.

    The biggest problem with the ’50 year run’ is that they did decide how to spend it, and invariably and quite rationally chose luxury for themselves. I can’t see any problem helping spray DDT, for example, or funding teaching or clean water (although, I acknowledge, the private sector is clearly Africa’s best friend as far as water goes – but I don’t feel under any obligation to not pay for water-treatment pills for poor villages just to increase someone else’s contingent profit!)

    As to no free computers, we all agree.

  • Verity

    Gengee – As I said, sorry that you see these schools without roofs from the chopper, but that is not our problem. They’ve had 50 years of lavish welfare from the pockets of Western people. As you also say, they are a lavishly rich continent. If they can’t exploit it, who the hell cares? I hate welfare dependency.

    Gengee says: The UN can at the very least bring pressure to bear on the countries which are signatories to its charter. I don’t expect that it will help, but it would be good to at least see an attempt.

    And that would be … how? The UN is a beggar, not even with the status of a trusted servant whose advice is valued. They are going to “bring pressure” against their paymasters? Oh …………. I don’t think so.

    Patrick, we’re in accord.

  • Yes, at a state level we can either waste money on sending aid to Africa or we can accept reality and abandon it. We may as well save our money. This comes with the pleasing assurance that we haven’t funded some hideous little tyrant’s palace complex or his fleet of Bentleys.

    There is, of course, no morally defensible reason why they cannot have unfettered access to our markets, and vice versa.

  • Verity

    James Waterton – Agreed. Let them in! Then they can sink or swim by their own efforts. How nice it would be to see thousands of African men and women who bought their swank cars, landscaped mansions, bespoke suits and couturier gowns with their own money through their own industry and risk-taking. They are the ones who will raise Africa’s wealth level; not us.

  • Gengee

    I do not disagree with you, they should have the schools and the infrastructure to support them after all that has been given, but I thought the post was about the $100 laptops and about the UN in the area of internet accessibility and governance and such like.

    So here is a link to an Inquirer article naysaying the $100 laptop from a technical point (Link), you made the point very well from the ‘welfare dependency breeds further dependency viewpoint’, again something I agree with.

    As to how the UN would browbeat, as it usually does, ineffectually with ignored resolutions, if China did not veto them. At least it would be something, are you going to run down to the Processing Center when the ID cards are announced and say ‘me first’ ? I don’t think so.
    I expect from what I have read of your posts here, you are probably signed up to the NO2ID pledges, i.e. doing something, even if in the end it is futile.


  • Verity

    Gengee – thanks for the link. I read it and it was interesting. But actually, I don’t care whether they work or not. If the Africans want a computer, even if it’s for the ch-i-i-l-d-r-e-n-n, they can pay for it like everyone else. No more free things. El Jefe Mugabe, for example, could easily write a cheque for cash for $1bn out of his account in the Bahamas and underwrite the whole thing for every school kid in Africa.

    If he won’t do it, why should we?

  • Paul Marks

    If the government is handing out “free” (i.e. taxpayer financed) labtops may I have one?

    Well in spite of living in a government house (I suppose I could claim I have “homesteaded unowned property” but that does seem a bit of a cop out) I have turned down central heating and a new kitchen (on the grounds that I do not have the right to things paid for by other folk without their consent), so I might turn down a laptop as well.

    On the other hand I am on a government financed “teacher training” course in Bolton – and I had alternatives (for example I have enough money to go to Switzerland and check in to one of those clinics that put people to sleep who have either not got the guts or the physical ability to do the job themselves). So perhaps I would take a laptop computer as well.

    “Laptops for Africa” – well I suppose this nonsense had to come – a globel welfare state (so that the whole thing collapses more quickly).

    World government control of the internet fits in to the same idea.

    “But it is not in the interests of the power elite to destroy civilization”.

    This assumes that they know they are destroying it. As good university educated folk they, most likely, think that ever more government spending and regulations is good for the ecomomy – although some of the rulers think that they must be “modern” regulations and spending on “modern” things (rather than just random regulations or spending on old things – like farming).

    It makes little difference in the long run – but there is no reason they should see that.

    As for the defeat of World Government control of the internet. Well they have got their “forum” and they will seek to build on that.

    One of the few good things about President Bush (the man who has increased nondefence government spending more than any United States President since Richard Nixon) was that he was supposed to be against world government ideas.

    The problem is once a government sends people to one of these conferences the pressure to “make a deal” in order to “avoid deadlock” is vast.

    So each “victory” in the talks means there is a bit more statism than there was before (a defeat would be a lot more statism). If one wants no more statism at all one should not turn up and these conferences – going to them gives tacit authority to the institution (U.N., E.U. or whatever) that has set them up.

    So there is no hope?

    No there is a little hope. If one Western nation (no matter how small) would opt out of the “international community” (tell the E.U., U.N., I.M.F., World Bank and so on, that it just was not interested), then the whole thing would be expossed as toothless. And other nations might well follow suit (as the nation that had rejected “civilized government spending and regulations” would not be be in such a bad state as other nations).

    The elite is not going to send millions of people to the gas chambers, it would not even impose trade sanctions against Britain if we pulled out of the E.U.

    They would just huff and puff and do nothing.

    For example, say the nasty extremists in Flanders (under whatever name they have to use this week – to avoid yet another banning order) won an election and stopped giving tax payers money to the French Belgiums or to the E.U. or (yes horror of horrors) to the immigrants, what exactly would the international “great and good” do?

    No more than pass resolutions and make speeches.

    One could scrap the entire Welfare State (in the teeth of a million sacred treaties on “human rights”) and they would still just make speeches and pass resolutions.

    Ditto on banking – one could scap central banking and leave the fractional reserve banks to sink or swim (I do not think that they would swim for very long – but if they can, then fine) and the “international money elite” would not send men in dark glasses to bump people off.

    They would just write upset letters to the Financial Times.

    The international power elite have no real “will to power”.

    We may well be a joke, but so are they.

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