Cellphones Bring Information And Power To World's Poor
from the dialing-in dept
There have been a lot of stories about cellphones in the developing world, and how rapidly they've been adopted, even among the poor. The Washington Post has a fascinating look at how trade workers in India, use cellphones to improve their business. Fishermen, for example, use cellphones to coordinate their boats and get real-time pricing information. This allows them to take their fish to the market where the highest prices are being offered, which offers a direct financial benefit. Farmers also benefit from better pricing information, but have also found a good business use for cameraphones. With them, they are able to take pictures of diseased crops and send them to specialists who can diagnose and recommend a course of action. Again, the cellphone offers a tangible benefit to the business. One professor quoted in the article sums up the significance of cellphones very well, "One element of poverty is the lack of information. The cellphone gives poor people as much information as the middleman." That's much more compelling than the detached argument put forth by some western intellectuals who decry the advance of new technology on moral grounds.