October 24, 2005

Developing a Point

I think the stress of midterms must be getting to everybody, because my Developing Societies seminar today was very silly indeed.

The class was having a discussion about introducing Western technology to developing countries, and most people seemed to be leaning towards the viewpoint that, NO, the West has no right to enforce its technology on others. Developing countries should be free to develop their own indigenous solutions, and anything else is arrogant paternalism by the developed world.

At which point, one guy chimed in with what I think is possibly the best point anybody has ever made, ever:

"Guys, come on, this is ridiculous. Look at it from the other side. Suppose there was some alien race who had the cure to cancer. Now, even if we could work out the cure ourselves in, say, another thousand years, don't you think we'd prefer that the aliens just gave it to us now, even if they were kind of assholes about it?"

(Not verbatim, but you get the gist.)

Steven Pinker would be so proud.


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