Geeking in the Third World
Subject:   I have mixed feelings on this.....
Date:   2003-05-15 17:20:31
From:   anonymous2
Response to: I have mixed feelings on this.....

You say: "doesn't that really amount to the United States paying for I.T. staff to work for private businesses in other countries?" Yes, that's right. And that's terrific. You've got to remember the scale of dollars in these countries. These are not profits that would be more than a rounding error to even small US companies in many case -- not "large profits." But what's wonderful about this approach rather than the "handout" style of a lot of charity, is that it means that the money you spend is an investment. And after a while, you don't have to keep making it. It's like volunteer capital, in a way. Start a business ecology, and you improve the company by helping the people to help themselves.

FWIW, this is the approach taken by a lot of forward thinking charities. It was originally pioneered by the Grameen Bank in India, where they provide "microfinance" loans of $50 to start small businesses (where a business might be as small as owning a goat that provides milk). But even folks like the (lately much maligned) Nature Conservancy do this. Rather than telling folks in Oceania how bad for the coral reefs it is to fish with dynamite, they help them set up sustainable fishery businesses.