Saturday, January 27, 2007

Does the Third World Need More Laptops?

My latest Mises.org article

Does the Third World Need More Laptops?
By Jim Fedako
Posted on 1/25/2006


All for the want of a dog. "What's a dog?" I inquired.

The middle-aged Jamaican smiled, "The dog is that little part down there." He knelt, pointing to the rear wheel of his broken bicycle leaning against the stuccoed cement block wall that outlined his neatly kept yard. He rose, looked me in the eye, and inquired, "Can you bring me a new one back when you return from the States?"

You see, my friend really needed a dog — the local term for the broken small part of the wheel assembly — in order to fix the bike he used for work. The local bike shops — more like bike shacks — didn't have the part in stock. And, even if they did, the price of a dog sold on the island would have been too high for a day laborer to afford.

Sure, I would have loved to have brought one back for him, but I wasn't coming back as my service in the US Peace Corps was about to end. The bike — a gift from my friend's generous, well-meaning US relative — would slowly rust against the wall in the rain and lightly salted winds, all for the want of a dog.

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