Quought for the day #41 – Atanu Dey

Dr. Atanu Dey is a contrarian and delights in pointing out which bits of conventional wisdom is not all that wise. Thus he argues, for example, that the solution to the problems of rural India lies in urban areas; or that information and communications technology will not solve problems that are not at their core technical problems. He is not exactly a Luddite, as he has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and post graduate degress in computer science. He changed his profession late in life and attended UC Berkeley where he received his PhD in economics. While at Berkeley, he was also a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University in 2001-02, During that period he created a model for development called “RISC — Rural Infrastructure and Services Commons” and co-authored the concept paper with Vinod Khosla.  He has worked for Hewlett Packard in the Silicon Valley and is currently Chief Economist at Netcore Solutions in Mumbai. Atanu blogs at http://www.deeshaa.org on India’s Economic Development.

(click on the button to read the background for this series)

Atanu’s Quought for the Day
“Is there any technology that was ever developed for the poor and which eventually ended up benefiting the poor?”

Just shows that I have a bird-brain. When I received this question from Atanu, I wrote back saying, should we slightly modify the question to put the responsibility back on the reader – “”What could you do to develop a technology that would benefit the poor worldwide?”
Atanu quickly responded

The question you pose is precisely the sort of question that people have been asking for ages. And I believe that they got it backwards. The reason I ask my question is to demonstrate that no technology has ever been developed — but I am sure has been tried — that was focused on the poor. It has always been for the rich and only later that the technology developed for the rich have benefited the poor.

Thanks Atanu for the clarification

Related Links:
1. Company: Netcore Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
2. Blog: Atanu Dey on India’s Development

Quought = Question that provokes thought. Questions are important. Thinking is important. Questions that make you think are very important!

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