Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2008/05/21/Iqbal_Quadir_How_Technology_Is_Empowering_the_Poor GrameenPhone founder and microfinance pioneer Iqbal Quadir addresses misconceptions about poverty-stricken countries, and argues that adoption of new technologies can help alleviate conditions in these areas. ----- Iqbal Quadir on "How Technology Is Empowering the Poor." Quadir presented a broad outline of development in order to give context for his belief that technology can alleviate poverty. He reminded us that 500 years ago, when the western countries were still "developing" their own societies, their political systems were no better, and often worse, than the instable corrupt regimes of many developing countries today. England had a series of kings who were impeached, arrested, ousted, or beheaded for their crimes. It was only after citizens were empowered by economic markets did the balance of power shift from the central king to decentralized citizens. All steps that devolve power away from a central authority - including laws, trade, and education - will raise democracy. In Quadir's view, it's not that centralization per se creates poverty. Poverty is the natural beginning state of all societies, east or west. Rather, decentralization is the engine which removes poverty and brings wealth. To the degree that infrastructure, education, and trade can be decentralized, wealth will rise in proportion. To the degree that infrastructure, education and trade are centralized, poverty will remain - The Long Now Foundation Iqbal Z. Quadir, founder of Gonofone and GrameenPhone, is the founder and director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the founding co-editor of Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, a journal published by MIT Press
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