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G8 leaders make us sick

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The essential guide to IT transformation

There's a theory that predicts capitalism will turn into the most corrupt form of communism. It holds that due to the make-up of capitalism - which rewards money with money and power - it is inevitable that over time society will split into the elite super-rich and the rest. The tendency for monopolies to form under capitalism has already been proven and if you look back, the size of mergers has steadily increased in the last ten years.

So what has this got to do with the heads of the world's biggest industrial countries (Tony Bleurgh and Bill Clownton included) making us sick? Well the lads have come up with a really good idea to help the world's poor. No, it's not the cancellation of ruinous, disgraceful debts. Nor is it the plan by the World Trade Organisation to cut the duty of products from Third World countries. Both these suffer from a common fault.

No profit.

And so how do we solve the developing world's troubles. Why, by selling them computer equipment, giving them access to the Internet and then letting them buy our goods online. Eh? Eh? This is the most ridiculous thing we have ever heard. And we are actually sickened by the selling of the concept as a positive step in helping the rest of the world.

If this isn't the ultimate in proof that money makes you greedy, blinkered and selfish, we don't know what is. This official line is that the "dot force" initiative will "leapfrog the barriers" that keep these countries poor. Barriers, incidentally, put up by ourselves. Its kinda like strapping someone into an electric chair and then giving them a remote control for the switch.

Oh and guess what? It won't cost the governments much because technology companies are stepping into the breach. So far we have Andersen Consulting - which is to set up a consulting team (blimey! if only we'd all thought of that before, Africa might be a consumer paradise by now) - and Cisco, which will presumably supply the entire infrastructure.

If we are really lucky we might see the extension of credit to these countries for the first time since the West last messed them up in the 70s. We'll also train up the young so we can then pull them into our countries and sap their resources and culture. What a lucky bunch.

Just think what fun Ethopians could have with a Web PC. Lael Brainard, President Clinton's deputy economic adviser, clearly has. "It's clear that information technology holds promise, providing an entire library to the most remote places that can't even get access to books now," it said, managing to completely miss a pretty big fact: many of them can't read. Within two months, we're probably be hearing about how Amazon can now guarantee delivery to the African continent within 10 days (riots permitting).

Honestly, this reads like a spoof for everything that is bad with Western civilisation. And the men controlling the most powerful countries in the world ought to be ashamed. ®

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If you'd like to congratulate Mssrs Blair, Clinton, Putin et al on their terrific idea, you can email the G8 conference's official suggestion box here.

The essential guide to IT transformation

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