The Times of India has published a book talking to Indian engineers about how to get a good career, education, job, all that sort of stuff. They picked up something I had said about Facebook’s Free Basics in that country. The question:
DO YOU THINK WEBSITES LIKE FACEBOOK’S FREE BASICS (FORMERLY
INTERNET.ORG) ARE A CHARITABLE WAY TO MAKE THE INTERNET
ACCESSIBLE TO LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES?
I CARE NOT one whit whether Free
Basics is a charitable method of
providing basic internet access. As a
pure utilitarian I do care whether it
will be useful and whether it will aid
in reducing poverty. As the answer
here is yes, it will (and one of our
great proofs comes from a study of
mobile phones and sardine fishermen
in Kerala), then that’s good
enough for me. We know that
increased access to communication
resources for poor communities aid
in completing markets, the most
basic first step in gaining economic
growth. For, that is the necessary
condition for us to have Adam
Smith’s division and specialisation of
labour as in the pin factory.
As Viscount Ridley recently quoted
me as saying: “Tim Worstall, who
wrote recently: ‘Someone is offering
to give away one of the few things
we know about that
And people are
whining about it?’”
will aid the poor. So,
let’s do it then. And
how are near irrelevant.
Charitable? Paid? Net neutrality?
They are just whining about trivia
compared to the basic point at issue.
No, I don’t know why they wanted me either.