Saturday, May 8, 2010

Philanthrocapitalism comes to Cuba: More fun curriculum ideas from the World Bank

I’ve already written one post criticizing Urgent: Evoke—an online “alternate reality game” (read web-based curriculum) funded by the World Bank that is saturated with the ideology of social entrepreneurship. Lately, though, the Evoke team has been posting some interesting new updates to their site, so I think another post is warranted.

Each week, the Urgent: Evoke site features a new comic in which the Evoke team, a group of social entrepreneurship superheroes, solve world problems through the power of philanthrocapitalism. These comics are supposed to teach African students about important social entrepreneurship concepts.

In a recent episode, the superhero team is visiting Cuba. In the alternate Urgent: Evoke future, communism has fallen and Castro is dead. The economic system is in chaos, but this merely highights exciting opportunities for our team of eager social entrepreneurship superheroes:
Actually, despite the claim above, it would seem that money is the key ingredient for social entrepreneurship. However, according to our superheroes, another important ingredient is, apparently, belief in the future of Cuba. And who holds the future of Cuba dearer to their heart than the Cuban exile community?According to Evoke, the Cuban exiles represent the promise of the future. Unjustly dispossessed, just like the white farmers in Zimbabwe, they will carry Cuba forward to a bright future:
As the comic closes, the Evoke team takes time out to reflect on their triumph in
transforming Cuba:
The Cuban exiles are back in charge and all’s well in the new Cuba, but it’s still important to put a “Havana Peso” in the musicians’ cap. After all, as good philanthrocapitalists, we need to use our wealth to support the hardworking folks that are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. There’s nothing like “a nudge in the right direction” to get people moving!

So much for the latest iteration of this World Bank curriculum. In my previous post, I wrote a longer analysis of the problematic ideology behind it. Also, if this curriculum intrigues you, you should also check out the parody of Urgent: Evoke, which you can find at Urgent: Invoke. Instead of using the original panels, the Invoke team rewrite the comics to reflect what they see as the World Bank’s actual agenda.

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