In terms of sheer economy (bytes/$), electronic memory isn't going to overtake magnetic memory for quite some time. However, PRAM promises to be comparable in speed and durability to system RAM but non-volatile (persistent) like flash RAM and supposedly even
more scalable (currently you can get 16G flash drives).
Unfortuneatly, poverty IS natural. To be more precise, it's an aspect of human nature. By default, people are lazy at best and downright destructive at their worst (see Cain, Nero, The Crusades, slavery/racism, Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, etc., etc.). Given
this fact, it's no wonder there are many people in the world who live in poverty.
This is not to say that there is no hope for mankind. Things like technology are evidence of this hope (technology = applied knowledge = productivity = prosperity = order). Rather, I'm just pointing out the difference between how things
should (in the philosophical sense of the word) be and how they are.
In fact, from my brief exposure to microfinance, I'm inclined to say that it seems like a very reasonable approach to the problem. It holds people accountable and invites them to join the prosperous in being productive. This is part of the kind of encouragement
and motivation that is required to overcome human nature. To add another cliché, it's a hand up rather than a hand out.