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

Norbert Bollow nb
Thu Aug 11 19:27:07 EEST 2011

Tapani Tarvainen <tapani.tarvainen at effi.org> wrote:

> 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

What I meant with "engaging" is a precondition to this. I meant
something like seeking to understand (both in the sense of rational
analysis as well as emotionally) practical situations, and having
genuine (non-idelogical!) desire to contribute to solving the

> 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).

I agree that it is a good strategy for this coalition that
the necessarily direct engagement with specific practical
situations shall happen primarily on the level of activities
of various members of the coalition.

What is learnt in this way should then be shared within the
coalition, so that it can inform our work, both with regard
to deciding what are the important Internet Rights and
Principles, and with regard to deciding when it is appropriate
to the coalition to jointly make a statement about a specific

I would argue that the severe problems in East Africa that
have been mentioned are more or less typical symptoms of one
of the kinds of problems that in my view (and you seem to
agree) work on Internet Rights and Principles should aim at
contributing to solving. So I think that if we're not yet able
to make a statement regarding this situation in East Africa,
we have some homework to do. 


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