Scarcity and abundance


I was born in the era when people needed coupon to get basics such as milk and flour. Later on I spend most of my time in Hong Kong where every inch of land worths a piece of gold. Therefore it is a change to live in a house of abundant space whose living room and lounge is hardly used and I am still getting used to it.

For someone who went from scarcity to abundance, I ask myself a question – whether it is good in which aspect? The question emerged itself clearer when I watched  Dr. Sugata Mitra (“Hole in the Wall” experiment), Kids Can Teach Themselves.

In this TED talk, Sugata mentions a project he did in India – install a PC screen in a wall  hole, either in urban slum or in rural areas. Some interesting things happened – kids go to browse and play by themselves in groups. They taught themselves the necessary skills and language in order to operate the machine in the hole. Since they had to share one PC, they had to advise each other and therefore gained similar skillsets altogether.

Sugata needs to provide more substantial data to prove that his approach does improve the computer literacy level of children. But I found the practice of playing together with a shared toy (computer) interesting. If they are left with abundance, saying one kid one PC, what would happen? Would they acquire the same level of knowledge faster, better? In this particular case, the scarcity of PC hardware forces the children to share and is this a good thing or a bad thing?


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