The merits and demerits of socialist and capitalist styles of government have been a cause for heated debate for as far back as one can think to. I think it is hard to come forward and say that one style is necessarily better than the other, as we have seen economies run by socialist and capitalist governments alike exhibit tremendous strides of progress economically and in other regards.
We currently live in a world where the mantra is fast becoming “be yourself”. Everywhere you look these days, be it in a fashion magazine, or financial services advert, we are slowly but surely being fed this belief that it is better to be different than to blend with the crowd. It seems to me that in this age that we live in, to successfully sell an idea or a commodity you need to emphasize its ability to bring about greater individuality to the final consumer. In this new “environment” that we find ourselves, it would be counterproductive to choose one thing over the other as being the better option. Each idea, person, object is unique and elegant on its own merit, with its quirks and flaws even making it that much more valuable as an individual unit to be celebrated. Individuality encourages us to seek for validity from within rather than from the outside, easier said than done right?
This post isn’t about styles of government or the topic of individuality; it is about Facebook’s new initiative called “internet.org“.
To be very concise, “internet.org” was created out of a need to spread the many advantages that come with using the internet. The founders hope to give access to certain websites at little or no cost to the user, while the site owner pays the bill. There has been a backlash against this this new initiative. The crux of the argument centers on the fact that it does not go in line with the concept of net neutrality. Detractors point to what they consider as a plan by Facebook to “colonize” the internet and make it less profitable for publishers and the likes who are not subscribers to the “internet.org” initiative.
Personally, I love technology. I am always eager and excited to see how technology can be employed to make tasks a lot more tolerable, and also enhance the life of people who come in contact with it. I recently started to learn programming with python. The words “Hello World” never excited me until I was typing in the code in to the python interpreter to have it printed on the screen once the code was executed. Learning to program has given me a new found appreciation of a computer. Before, I always thought of computers as these “god-like” machines with a mind of their own that was too hard to understand. Spending a few weeks with python, I see computers from a difference perspective. Computers are blank, fast and efficient tools that are desperately reliant on input from humans to do great things.
I believe that if we can put computers and internet in the hands of more people, especially in places like Africa, the human race as a collective unit would be propelled on such an unprecedented scale to a greater level of civilization.
The proliferation of the internet as prospected by Facebook is an excellent idea and should be encouraged.
To be entirely honest, I see reasons to the point of the marginalization of non-members of the “internet.org”. My input in this regard is for Facebook to limit the inclusion of webpages to essentials. When I say essentials, I am referring to those sites that help to keep people informed and educated. Websites that offer healthcare solutions to people who otherwise won’t have it. Websites that share knowledge about a myriad of topics that enable students research and learn. Websites that connect city merchants with rural suppliers of labor and raw materials. If Facebook is truly dedicated to its philanthropic intentions, it should exclude overzealous sites that are littered with Ads that distract from and ultimately ruin the experience of the end user.
As someone who just recently went through the daunting process of Grad School application (and succeeded, I might add), the whole experience got me thinking. Is it the school that makes the students, or the students make the school?
Most of the schools regarded as “Ivy-League” get tonnes of applications from students every year, which in turn gives them the privilege of picking the brightest and best students before any other school does. So when I see that students from those “Ivy-League” schools test better on standardized tests and tend to get employed faster than others, the question nags me; is it really the school who is to be thanked or the individual students themselves? “Ivy-League” schools pride themselves on having the best faculty and resources etc. but I hardly think that is the real reason for the success of such schools. If you ask me, I think that such schools already have half or more of their jobs (educating) already done for them. If an “Ivy-League” school really wants to prove to me that it has got the best of the best when it comes to faculties and other resources, let it go ahead and pick up the average Joe and make him a superstar in the eyes of employers and then I would start to believe them somewhat.
Just a thought.