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I read the interview, I haven't read Moyo's book. In the interview the distinction is made between systematic aid, usually provided by western govts to African govts, and emergency aid. Her beef doesn't seem to be with emergency aid but with systematic aid that distorts local economies and political relationships. Noone is actually against, for example, provision of basic emergency medical care to save lives in the short term, right? I doubt that individual contributions make up much of the systematic aid.

I her book is title and promoted the way it is for shock value - the same way she's not against emergency aid, few people are against the idea of real economic development and independence for African nations. Seems like a 'non-wood' argument: 'aid isn't helping Africa develop, what we need is non-aid!'.

Off topic, but Mayo also says: "NASA spends billions on a MARS project, but they don’t really think we’re going there." Which is wrong, unless you think remote controlled exploration isn't really 'being there'.

There has been a similar conversation going on for some time in Australia about welfare dependence in Aboriginal communities. It's a common view amongst a new generation of Aboriginal leaders that welfare dependence is at the heart of the social problems faced by remote communities, and they call for more restrictions on welfare and a greater emphasis on personal responsibility and entrepreneurship.


Unlike Roland, who is obviously a puritan, I rather enjoy the occasional spot of idleness. For a non-trivial number of people, playing WoW for a couple of hours a day is more fun that playing real life. Rather than make thinly veiled moral judgements about folks for their unproductivity, perhaps he should consider what makes certain games so engaging.

I spent a year playing a lot of WoW, attaining non-trivial sucess in both raiding and competitive PVP, but I gave it away, partly because the time commitment became too great and partly because what passed for progression started to lose its shine.

So, being suitably qualified, I'll take a stab at a few features that make this virtual social experience psychologically rewarding:

  1. Competition with minimised risk. I love fighting. Seriously - nothing beats the adrenaline buzz, time compression and sheer physicality. Unfortunately even controlled fighting in the physical world entails a level of risk that as a father I'm not willing to assume. Simulated violence, while a poor substitute, helps to fill the void.

  2. Persistent progress. Sure online FPS is fun, but when you log on you're always the same guy (more or less). There's also less risk of losing your shirt in an MMO compared to real life.

  3. Social challenges. Much of the game content consists of elaborate logistical and combinatorial problems that require research, problem solving, and team coordination. All of which are fun.

I see a future where billions of uploaded humans exist primarily in a cartoonish sim, working out how to beat the latest uber boss the AI has dreamed up in order to get phat lewt.