priorities on broadband internet in the developing world

•2011/10/23 • Leave a Comment

[img from: readwriteweb.com]

Just finished reading this article from by Charles Kenny in Foreign Policy Magazine (LINK).  I was bored and decided that I needed to start getting back into researching educational hot-topics that I studied.  This one was very interesting to me.  So, I am deciding to blog about it a little.

The title of this article is “No Need for Speed: Save your money, United Nations – the developing world doesn’t need broadband Internet to get ahead.”  I have couple thoughts on it.  First, I was not quite on-board based on the title.   Why does this author state that the Internet is not great for the developing world?  The developing world can utilize the Internet for its growth to ‘catch up’ with the developed world and what is wrong with this??  The common quote, “you are only as strong as your weakest link,” comes to mind.

Thus, the first quote that jumped to mind is from Thomas Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowed.  Friedman states that from the development of the Internet, “so many more people could work together on so many different things” (2008, p. 30).  I personally agree with Friedman.  The world did get flatter with the development of the Internet.  The world is closer than ever and information is readily available.  Just like the invention of the Guttenberg printing press, the Internet allows any user to obtain vital information for self-development.  Further, people can connect with others like never before.

As an education policy student, Internet’s other great attribute is that it allows a student to further develop his or her own personal interest.  This greatly allows the student to stay current with world events and greatly reduces the time needed to complete their research.  In a nutshell, the Internet acts as a hub to share information.  The more an individual knows, the smaller the margin for error.

However, Kenny brings up a great point in his article.  He argues that many with broadband Internet fail to fully utilize the Internet for its greatest goal – connecting information from one part of the world to another.  Yes, (I am guilty of this too) we connect with others via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, etc.), to provide our status updates; however, this fails to bring change the world.  We are always ‘googling’ to see what is going on celebrity news and sports, but this causes us to fail to see the world as a whole.

Unfortunately, there are many events in the world that are unnoticed and I will raise my hand to say I am guilty of this too.  Today, there was an earthquake in Turkey that has taken the lives of many innocent people, hurting their families and populations as a whole.  I hope that there is a call for assistance for the greater good.

As Kenny ends the article, he states that the money to develop broadband Internet to the developing world should actually fund their infrastructure, health, and education.  I cannot agree with him more.  Information is only effective is it is used properly.  Bringing the basic life-needs up to the developing world should be the very first step.  Once basic life-needs are met, then we should talk about bridging the information gap closer.

Peter – out.

Oh the economy …

•2010/11/22 • Leave a Comment
Tax Cut Cartoon

sad ... but true.

I came across this political cartoon while looking at time.com.  Unfortunately, I would like to state for the record that this is the reality that we are all  living in today.  However, let me make very clear — I am not blaming anyone or anything as the reason why we are in this.  Rather, this should stimulate a bond between everyone in the world.  This is not just affecting the ‘developed’ nation-states or just the ‘underdeveloped’ nation-states — this is affecting all of us living today.  Thomas Friedman is correct that  The World is Flat, where all of us are interconnected, no matter what we do.  It is what it is.

Back to the cartoon; sadly, that is also on the lines of “it is what it is.”  I state this because the tax cuts do not seem to work.  I am not an economist, I am just an individual who is utilizing deductive reasoning.  To me, the idea of providing a tax ‘cut’ to the highest 1% of the population does not make sense.  Although (it is great to see capitalism in action) by not taxing these individuals, it would seem that these citizens are short-changing the government on its ability to provide for its citizens.  The main argument that I hear for tax-cuts revolves around the fact that by not taxing the large corporation or venture capitalists, it allows either or to have more flexibility to ‘venture’ further and pump more money into itself in order to generate more potential jobs to the general public.

I still believe that is hard to comprehend.  Unfortunately, there have been too many instances where a corporation or an individual gets [going to state either or as “X” from this point] indicted on federal charges of ‘such and such.’  If this happens, the 99% of the population’s tax hard-earned tax dollars goes to bring X to trial and to sustain the trial until a decision renders.  Whatever the decision might be, X will not be able to continue to prosper as it once did, hurting its worker-base, people losing their jobs, their product, etc.  It is a lose-lose for all parties.

Well, for fun, I decided to search for an article that defines the effects of a tax-cut to the wealthy.  Aron-Dine and Kogan found that:

“despite recent statements by the President, Vice President, and certain Congressional leaders that tax cuts pay for themselves, economists from across the political spectrum — including the Administration’s current and former chief economists — reject this notion. Further, the Treasury Department’s own analysis of the President’s tax cuts confirms common sense and conventional wisdom; it concludes that, even under favorable assumptions, the tax cuts would generate added growth that would offset no more than 10 percent of their long-term costs” (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=165).

So, in a nutshell, if the Treasury found that there was not much of a benefit of a tax-cut, I am not 100% what to really think of it.  If the government’s own department does not believe is not the answer, I would hope that the leaders would listen … oh wells.  Aron-Dine and Kogan conclude that “in [their] final analysis, the idea that tax cuts can spur sufficient economic growth to pay for themselves sounds too good to be true because itis too good to be true.  In tax policy, as in other aspects of policymaking, there is no “free lunch.”  Well, there never is a ‘free’ lunch but it would be nice …

Reference:
Aron-Din, A & Kogan, R. (2006).  Claim That Tax Cuts “Pay For Themselves” Is Too Good To Be True: Data Show No “Free Lunch” Here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved from http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=165.