Updated: 1/27/2006; 11:18:19 PM.

Digital Development
Communications and info tech in developing countries, especially wireless broadband and high-value applications


daily link  Friday, January 27, 2006


Lessons of post-Cold War development: Summarizes and links to papers by Harvard's Dani Rodrik, especially an excellent review of economic development policies since 1990, "Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion?"  For example:  "While it is true that over the past ten years scores of developing nations have not experienced economic growth, and in some cases have actually fallen backwards, despite following the rules of the Washington Consensus, paradoxically, that doesn't mean the era of globalization has been an unmitigated disaster. Quite the contrary: "From the standpoint of global poverty," writes Rodrik, "the last two decades have proved the most favorable that the world has ever experienced. Rapid economic growth in China, India, and a few other Asian countries has resulted in an absolute reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty."

But what's fascinating is that China and India made their march forward, according to Rodrik, not by willy nilly opening up their markets with neoliberal abandon, but with great attention to policy choices, and with explicit government involvement in the economy that can only be described as industrial policy. The same was true of many of the East Asian nations who developed earlier, like Taiwan and South Korea, which only started to seriously open up after they had achieved substantial economic growth through a mix of protectionism, export subsidies, and other policy choices."
  11:17:30 PM  permalink  

Text messaging, thumb drives, and Web mail for disasters:  "Communications systems were largely useless when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, “but text messaging did work,” said John Lawson, CIO of Tulane University in New Orleans. Lawson and other officials who were on the ground during Katrina’s aftermath told a gathering of public-sector CIOs that because text messaging requires so little bandwidth, and in very short bursts, it became a primary means of communicating during rescue-and-recovery operations.

“Our young folks figured that out for us,” said Joe Castillo, chief of operations for the Coast Guard district serving New Orleans. .. Castillo [also] said the Coast Guard relied on thumb drives to courier data around the area. The miniature storage devices contain flash memory and typically connect to computers through a USB port. “I bought a ton of them,” Castillo said.

Agencies on the ground also relied heavily on commercial e-mail services and recommended off-site e-mail systems as part of a continuity of operations plan (COOP). Eric Rasmussen, a director of emergency medicine for the Navy, said his group set up accounts on Yahoo Mail, Google and others in order to share information.

Lawson said he learned to have an off-site e-mail system in place in case of disaster. Tulane was eventually able to find an offsite partner to set up accounts for students and personnel, but the school was unable to populate the system on the fly with all user account information. ..

Rasmussen was pleased with the Groove peer-to-peer collaboration tools his team employed in New Orleans, but they weren’t perfect. In order to establish secure collaboration, Groove’s communications are encrypted end to end. Therefore, an emergency response official must be invited to a Groove workgroup in order to collaborate. COOP plans should include technologies for workgroup discovery, Rasmussen said. .. “The ability to find out who is doing collaborative work … by having some Web-based discovery capability or some e-mail-based discovery capability would be very useful,” he said. “A lot of work that was done in a collaborative workspace was not available to anyone else.” "
  10:38:17 PM  permalink  

 
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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 1/27/2006; 11:18:19 PM.