[Ietf-lac] On Techno-Colonialism

Tomas Lynch tomas.lynch at gmail.com
Mon May 22 13:37:02 BRT 2017

La ironía de que esta persona que era un Do-Gooer nos explique a los pobres
lo que es el tecnocolonialismo no deja de llamarme la atención.

On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 12:46 PM, Fernando Gont <fgont at si6networks.com>

> FYI: <https://psg.com/on-technocolonialism.html>
> ---- cut here ----
> On Techno-Colonialism
>     ".. sometimes we visit your country and live in your home,
>      sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone,
>      sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own."
>      - Grateful Dead - Eyes of the World
> Techno-colonialism is a term I coined back in the '90s to describe the
> exploitation of poorer cultures by richer ones through technology. In
> particular, this was focused on Internet technology, though it may apply
> more widely. Like ice cream, techno-colonialism comes in many flavors.
> Classic Capitalist Exploitation is when equipment, software, and
> education companies from rich countries sell inferior, broken, and
> out-dated technology to poorer cultures because they can not sell the
> out-dated technology in their own. This leaves the colonized with poor
> technology, and with education in the use of inferior technology, when
> it is critical that they learn modern engineering.
> The Vendor Territorialist attempts to lock significant segments of a
> culture into using their hardware and/or software product. This is done
> through low cost vendor-specific education, pressure on the government,
> loss-leader initial entry cost, and making vendor-specific certification
> important in the job market. A neat trick is to ignore piracy until the
> colony is dependent on the sofware, see A Contribution to the
> Understanding of Illegal Copying of Software. A new variant of this is
> the social network with a do-gooder face and an embrace and devour body.
> Aid Agencies in the 'business' of technology transfer are subject to the
> same diseases as business in general. At first, they have technology
> transfer goals and are happy to cooperate with others to achieve them.
> If they become 'successful', money flows to them, they grow, and they
> become focused on their own growth and survival, losing sight of the
> original primary goals. They see themselves as doing good, and succumb
> to the American (and others') fallacy that bigger is better, and they
> can do more good if they are bigger. After all, the need for their
> services is perceived as effectively infinite. Others with whom they
> used to cooperate are now seen as competitors for the resources of
> self-expansion. They become protective of territory which they never
> owned in the first place. The colonies become caught in the crossfire of
> the foreign aid agencies, just as they became caught in the wars between
> the classic colonialists.
> The Exploiting Hero brings, often inappropriate, technology in order to
> gain leverage for personal power or money. They care little for the
> locals or their needs. They have the righteous solution and will break
> anything to insert it, take whatever they came for, and leave.
> The Agent represents others as opposed to introducing them. From a 2002
> talk at Rhodes University, "Jose [Soriano] made it very clear to me
> that, if I went to the Northern expert and asked the questions and then
> returned the answers to Peru, this was a form of patronization and
> colonialism. Jose and other Peruvians were first class citizens capable
> of representing themselves. I was to introduce them to the experts and
> get out of the middle. Brokering and hoarding information are a
> dangerous form of techno-colonialism."
> Self-Exploitation is the saddest case, a person or group who is part of
> the exploited and who starts to exploit their neighbors. This is
> understandable as they are in a very resource scarce environment, and
> see leadership as a path to general improvement, self-fulfillment, and
> the power to improve things. Given the difficulty and complexity of
> making any significant progress, they become controlling and defensive.
> Though they speak of passing power to the next generations and to the
> public, they soon cling to power with their claws, as does any
> demagogue. Aside from the obvious damage, this breeds a public cultural
> defense strategy of sabotaging anyone's success lest they become such
> demagogues; thereby keeping everyone down.
> The Do-Gooder flies in, sings their song, drops a bit of technology and
> flies out again. Back home, they stand in front of the cameras and
> accept the accolades for their good deeds. The problem is that this
> upstages the in-country folk on the ground who actually did the work;
> and without credit for their work, the local folk have a hard time
> getting independent support to do more work which is desperately needed.
> I speak from experience having been a do-gooder for 28 years, flying in
> and back out, and accepting the accolades. I have donated used
> equipment. I have helped to create organizations which became
> self-perpetuating katamaris. Being a privileged brat from a rich
> culture, I have yet to be a self-exploiter; but there is still time.
> A simple solution to this seemingly difficult problem will be presented
> in our next paper. [ There seems to be no emoji for dripping sarcasm. ]
> Randy Bush <randy at psg.com>
> ---- cut here ----
> --
> Fernando Gont
> SI6 Networks
> e-mail: fgont at si6networks.com
> PGP Fingerprint: 6666 31C6 D484 63B2 8FB1 E3C4 AE25 0D55 1D4E 7492
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