Before the digital era there was only way to be poor and that was not to have access to things. But now there´s a new kind of poverty and that is digital poverty. Not only can you be poor because you have no access to the information society as we like to call it in Europe but even inside the Internet you can be poor. Let me give you a concrete example of digital poverty. It relates to Stardoll. Stardoll is a very simple yet incredibly successful site for little girls to dress up their dolls. I first blogged about Stardoll in April of 2006 both in English and Spanish What happened to me after blogging about Stardoll in Spanish is that because of my Google Ranking when you google Stardoll only in Spanish you come to my blog. But what´s unusual about Stardoll is that even though doll´s are virtually dressed in Stardoll their virtual clothes cost real money. And what I frequently get now is e mails from little girls from Spanish speaking countries who ask me if I can please give them stardollars so they can buy dresses for their little dolls. And I feel so sorry about them that I even contemplated that my foundation could finance some of these but came to the conclusion that that would be absurd. Interestingly, yesterday, I had a chance to see Mattias Miksche from Stardoll again and raise this issue. Since there´s little cost involved in producing these clothes. Couldn´t we start an NGO that actually gave them for free or for practically nothing to poor girls in say Ecuador, Peru, Colombia? And in general, now that wealth is both felt (no food) and perceived (Swedish girls can buy clothes, Peruvian girls can´t), don´t we have an opportunity in the virtual world to do virtual philanthropy and make a lot of little girls, boys, and even grown ups happy? Mattias did not give me a concrete answer but I am sure he is thinking about this. Personally I think that there is a chance of bringing digital justice to this world. Pricing digital property in terms of the average purchasing power of each country would be a good start. Cause as opposed to real property digital property has no cost for an extra copy. Let´s take advantage of this and start the digital fair trade movement!

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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