[IRP] Problem of abject poverty and hunger (was Re: Call notes...)

Tapani Tarvainen tapani.tarvainen
Thu Aug 11 12:46:08 EEST 2011

On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:36:06AM +0200, Norbert Bollow (nb at bollow.ch) wrote:

> Tapani Tarvainen <tapani.tarvainen at effi.org> wrote:
> > I thought this list was about Internet Rights and Principles,
> > where development agenda of any kind is not primary at all,
> > certainly not more so than many other IG issues.
> Hmm... I would argue that internet rights and principles are not
> important in and of themselves in some ideological way, but they're
> important because of their importance for fundamental human rights
> and needs.

Of course, I agree with that 100%.

But "development" has a rather different meaning or at
least connotation in this context, it is not equivalent
with human rights and their improvement, even though
there is overlap.

> We cannot engage with every specific local and temporary situation,
> as it's impossible to achieve anything unless there is focus on
> something, and this coalition has chosen to focus on the "big
> picture" aspect of rights and principles.

Well, rights and especially principles kind of are the big picture.
Also, the group (as its name implies) is concerned with _Internet_
rights and principles, not all human rights &c.

> That is good. But in our focus on this, I believe we still need to
> be informed by actually engaging, in some genuine way, with the
> important problems that internet rights and principles can
> contribute to solving.

Agreed, again. But they can't necessarily contribute to all
important problems - Internet is not directly involved in
every crisis, even if it can be used as a tool in them,
and all practical applications of the Internet do not
have specific relevance to rights and principles.

We should keep our focus narrow enough to keep the work manageable.
If we move from evaluating the rights and principles, considering
their applicability and relevance &c, to actually doing everything
where they matter, we'll have all the worlds problems in our hands,
and the group could be renamed "do everything good -group".

> ICT can potentially be used to make some of those who are rich and
> powerful today even more rich and powerful, while exploiting everyone
> else and increasing poverty and hunger as a side effect. On the other
> hand, ICT can also potentially be used to empower those who today
> live in unacceptable conditions to truly satisfactory economic and
> spiritual development. How can humanity choose the latter path of
> development over the former? By means of wisely choosing and
> establishing the right Internet Rights and Principles!

Yes. We should indeed analyze our rights and principles in
that light, all the way down to recommending courses of action
in various practical situations, but actually engaging in
them should be left to other organizations, which hopefully
will adopt our work as their principles (and indeed which
may be composed of partly same people as this group).

Tapani Tarvainen

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