My latest Register piece reflects on a nicely counter-cultural international bench-marking study, that ranks France as the country that does most to channel technological innovation towards the developing world:
There is something about the nature of the "information revolution" that allows big business and elites to see it as a win-win. The fact that networked technologies operate in a decentralised fashion allows telecoms companies and governments to claim that they must therefore benefit the small guy. Magazines such as The Economist and Business Week are keen to point out that mobile phones and laptops, built by US, Japanese, and Scandinavian countries, are the great hope for development in Africa.
Now it transpires, thanks to development experts, that the country of long lunching luddites actually does more for the developing world in this area than any other. The win-win of the information society isn't so obvious after all.