International business

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Even a single computer with an Internet connection in or near a village provides basic access to international markets, as demonstrated by the ITC e-choupal program and Overstock.com's certification as the largest employer in Afghanistan two and a half years after the overthrow of the Taliban.

When an entire class, an entire school, an entire community is equipped with computers, much wider opportunities open up. OLPC4USA proposes to link schools in the US and elsewhere with schools in developing countries, and to teach the children, their teachers, and their communities how to do international business. The starting point is the non-monetary wealth that exists in any community, including cultural riches such as art, music, stories, clothing, and so on, and also crop varieties and wild plants not generally available in the developed world. The OLPC laptop is an adequate basis for teaching sound and video recording. Those who do well with the laptop can be given opportunities to learn more advanced equipment, both to preserve their cultural heritage, and to become employable in the radio, TV, movie, training, and other industries that will grow with the economy.

When an entire community can take part in an economic opportunity of this kind, or better several such opportunities, the community can invest in other economic growth, through microbanking and other means. this includes entirely local businesses such as restaurants, and businesses based on trade with the surrounding region or with the world, including transportation and more powerful computers. We do not know in any detail what those business should be. We propose to begin by making an array of options available to the children and their communities, and letting them decide what is most worth doing. We expect to continue from there by listening rather than telling.

Some of the profits should of course go into local schools, clinics, and government. We will use the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement model for community development. Sarvodaya has been doing all this and much more, but without computers, for several decades.

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