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IT makes the rich rich and the poor poor

IT makes the rich rich and the poor poor

The world will be saved by the hi-tech Luddites. Or at least this is the hypothesis that the international economic potentates are shooting through their main megaphone, the International Monetary Fund. The United Nations organization, already harshly criticized for its policies, tries to call itself out of the game and accuses, black and white, technological progress as the ultimate motivation for the continuing conditions of inequality among the peoples of the planet .

In World Economic Outlook for 2007, the IMF goes beyond the old idea of ​​machines as responsible for unemployment, low wages and poverty, arguing that “Technological progress alone explains almost all the increase in inequality since the early 1980s. “. The institution therefore adopts the position of a technophobic pop music star who sells on iTunes, blaming the world’s evils on active PC users, Microsoft and Linux server sysadmins .

And the globalization of receding capital and production that allowed labor to be sold off in Asian countries? “The increase in financial globalization – the Fund continues – certainly played a role in increasing inequalities, but contrary to popular belief, the increase in globalized trade is associated with a decline in inequalities”. If only you had let us work in peace without putting the information society in the way, the important institution suggests, now the world would be better and fairer.

The rationale behind IT’s serious faults is the generally high price paid for skills in the sector and the fact that its growth does nothing but push for an increase in demand for skilled and properly trained workers.

“In other words – reads a colorful article in The Register – the overpaid scum of IT with its systems, networks, etc., are taking the bread out of the mouths of the poor but honest workers in filing cabinets, printing works, signalers with traffic lights, call center staff, record majors executives and so on. IT, the motor car, the cheap tools, the new drugs – it’s all evil and disjunctive, and it promotes war, rebellion and conflict. The big global businesses of trafficking in good old materials like commodities – like mines, agricultural businesses – these people are your friend. ”

An absurd prospect that try to follow back in time Clive Crook, “egghead trained in economics at Oxford” in the words of the Reg, who for the Financial Times writes one of the few articles in the financial press to highlight the position of the IMF. “Ned Ludd was right,” Crook writes, “The world has gone a little too far with progress and the consequences are all visible.”

To restore the good old days when new technologies, education, scientific advancement and the proliferation of the Internet they did not pose a serious threat to the magnificent and progressive fortunes of a globalized and prosperous humanity , Crook suggests some simple but effective recipes: “Punitive taxation is nonsense – writes the egghead – Include a surcharge on scientists and engineers. Restrict post-graduate education to arts, humanities and law ”.

Last but not least, Crook suggests as icing on the cake to “Dismantle all legal protections of intellectual property”. An extreme measure even in an absurd framework such as the one sarcastically hypothesized by the expert, but perfectly in line with the approach expressed by the IMF towards intangible assets which constitute the source of development and fundamental trade of the information society.

Alfonso Maruccia