One-to-One Computer Recyling

March 17th, 2005

Mbaki and Gerry,

Thank you both for reading and considering our post above about the Big Is Good World, Small Is Good World, and Recycling Computers.

There is an organization-centric assumption underlying each of your counterpoints to our comments. In both cases, you are thinking that the goal/focus of the recycling computers ‘problem’ is the computer. As such, you are both correct in suggesting that an efficient, coordinated (Big Is Good World) solution service is better (in the sense of efficiency, manageability, and accountability) than a myriad of individual, uncoordinated computer recycling services. And to this point we would agree, regardless of whether this solution design is realized as a large conventional organization or a large coordinated, decentralized network.

The organization-centric assumption creeps into your counterpoint comments when you suggest that the myriad of individual, inefficient, uncoordinated computer recycling services is a Small Is Good World solution design. You are thinking too literally — comparing apples to apples, in other words — in your assessment of the relative advantage of size in the ‘game’ of recycling computers. This organization-centric perspective assumes that the Big Is Good World vs. Small Is Good World Game is being played on the same field, by the same rules.

But if you revisit our comments above, you will see that we are talking about two different games, played by two different sets of rules. Both games may involve the movement of surplus computers around the metaphorical playing field, but this is where the comparison ends. Both of your Big Is Good World versus Small Is Good World counterpoint comments reflect an ‘apples to oranges’ comparison.

The objective of the Small Is Good World game is to create persistent, rewarding social-economic relationships between individuals. Organizations in the Small Is Good World are pools of resources, brand-identifiers, and context-setters. Useful, yes, but fundamentally non-essential to the central theme/goal of the game which is all about creating person-to-person networks.

To use our Sohodojo/Life-in-Africa example, we now know by way of correspondence with Christina Kirabo Jordan, that the laptop we (Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn) are donating to the LiA Webbed Empowerment Center is going to Monica Nankoma. The laptop will physically stay in the WE Center because there aren’t enough to go around yet, but Monica is designated as this laptop’s ‘care-taker’.

With the exchange of this laptop — we’re bringing it to the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship later this month to give to Christina who will take it back to Uganda — Jim and Timlynn are committing to develop an on-going, mutually-rewarding, and mutually-supportive relationship with Monica. As we get to know and care about each other, we will work with Monica to draw our relationship beyond the social and into the economic.

The Small Is Good World is a network of intimate, person-to-person relationships. The organizations Sohodojo and Life in Africa Foundation may facilitate linkages within this world, but they are not the essential elements of it. Now, multiple the tiny network of Timlynn, Jim, and Monica but many orders of magnitude. The Small Is Good World can eventually be a global network that transcends national boundaries and the influence of global corporations and their markets.

So, Gerry, when you say we need to get “Small in a Big Way”, we absolutely agree. And Mbaki, when you say that the Small Is Good approach to international aid and development tried in Africa to date hasn’t worked, we agree.

Think of global capitalism as a two-cylinder engine. For the last 100-150 years — essentially what we might characterize as the Industrial Age — this engine has been running on the Big Is Good World cylinder. The engine runs rough and dirty. If we put a spark plug back into the Small Is Good World cylinder and give the engine a tune-up, this engine can run cleaner and more efficiently. (Of course we still have to steer wisely to lengthen the flight of Spaceship Earth… but that is another discussion.)

As we said in our initial comment above, our Small Is Good World approach to recycling unwanted computers won’t solve the whole surplus computer problem, but it does attend to the opportunity to reinvigorate and extend the Small Is Good World… and that is a Great Game to be playing.

–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–

Entry Filed under: Globalization 3.0 and the Small Is Good World, Recycled Computer Initiative

One-to-One Computer Recyling

March 17th, 2005

Mbaki and Gerry,

Thank you both for reading and considering our post above about the Big Is Good World, Small Is Good World, and Recycling Computers.

There is an organization-centric assumption underlying each of your counterpoints to our comments. In both cases, you are thinking that the goal/focus of the recycling computers ‘problem’ is the computer. As such, you are both correct in suggesting that an efficient, coordinated (Big Is Good World) solution service is better (in the sense of efficiency, manageability, and accountability) than a myriad of individual, uncoordinated computer recycling services. And to this point we would agree, regardless of whether this solution design is realized as a large conventional organization or a large coordinated, decentralized network.

The organization-centric assumption creeps into your counterpoint comments when you suggest that the myriad of individual, inefficient, uncoordinated computer recycling services is a Small Is Good World solution design. You are thinking too literally — comparing apples to apples, in other words — in your assessment of the relative advantage of size in the ‘game’ of recycling computers. This organization-centric perspective assumes that the Big Is Good World vs. Small Is Good World Game is being played on the same field, by the same rules.

But if you revisit our comments above, you will see that we are talking about two different games, played by two different sets of rules. Both games may involve the movement of surplus computers around the metaphorical playing field, but this is where the comparison ends. Both of your Big Is Good World versus Small Is Good World counterpoint comments reflect an ‘apples to oranges’ comparison.

The objective of the Small Is Good World game is to create persistent, rewarding social-economic relationships between individuals. Organizations in the Small Is Good World are pools of resources, brand-identifiers, and context-setters. Useful, yes, but fundamentally non-essential to the central theme/goal of the game which is all about creating person-to-person networks.

To use our Sohodojo/Life-in-Africa example, we now know by way of correspondence with Christina Kirabo Jordan, that the laptop we (Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn) are donating to the LiA Webbed Empowerment Center is going to Monica Nankoma. The laptop will physically stay in the WE Center because there aren’t enough to go around yet, but Monica is designated as this laptop’s ‘care-taker’.

With the exchange of this laptop — we’re bringing it to the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship later this month to give to Christina who will take it back to Uganda — Jim and Timlynn are committing to develop an on-going, mutually-rewarding, and mutually-supportive relationship with Monica. As we get to know and care about each other, we will work with Monica to draw our relationship beyond the social and into the economic.

The Small Is Good World is a network of intimate, person-to-person relationships. The organizations Sohodojo and Life in Africa Foundation may facilitate linkages within this world, but they are not the essential elements of it. Now, multiple the tiny network of Timlynn, Jim, and Monica but many orders of magnitude. The Small Is Good World can eventually be a global network that transcends national boundaries and the influence of global corporations and their markets.

So, Gerry, when you say we need to get “Small in a Big Way”, we absolutely agree. And Mbaki, when you say that the Small Is Good approach to international aid and development tried in Africa to date hasn’t worked, we agree.

Think of global capitalism as a two-cylinder engine. For the last 100-150 years — essentially what we might characterize as the Industrial Age — this engine has been running on the Big Is Good World cylinder. The engine runs rough and dirty. If we put a spark plug back into the Small Is Good World cylinder and give the engine a tune-up, this engine can run cleaner and more efficiently. (Of course we still have to steer wisely to lengthen the flight of Spaceship Earth… but that is another discussion.)

As we said in our initial comment above, our Small Is Good World approach to recycling unwanted computers won’t solve the whole surplus computer problem, but it does attend to the opportunity to reinvigorate and extend the Small Is Good World… and that is a Great Game to be playing.

–Sohodojo Jim and Timlynn–

Entry Filed under: Globalization 3.0 and the Small Is Good World, Recycled Computer Initiative


Welome to Sohodojo's Omidyar.net Blog

All posts in this blog originated on the now defunct Omidyar.net community web site . There a many embedded links from these posts to the original ONet site URLs that no longer work as the site has been archived. We are investigating the possibility of linking to the archive URLs. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

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