The Cost Of Nations

It's interesting that MIT guru Nicholas Negroponte and Microsoft founder Bill Gates share the same vision and a passion for philanthropy, but seem to have incompatible approaches.

Microsoft, and even more disgracefully, Intel, have tried their damnest to obstruct the One Laptop Per Child movement, with its vision of making computing affordable in the third world.

Now Bezos' Amazon has stepped into the fray to run the Get 1 Give 1 programme pioneered by Negroponte whereby anyone buying one of these laptops in the developed world pays for one for the developing world.

Nothing this side of Google's alleged collusion in China raises such issues of morality against commerce.

The traditional philanthropic approach has rarely changed from the days of the Medicis - who commissioned great religious works of art as penance for their usury. The approach is make money any way and then become all moral about how you give it away.

I have a vested interest in wanting to see 2Mbps connections in the middle of Chad, but I suspect people other than the great givers of our age will achieve this.