Banking using cell phones

One person who is unhappy with everything in the world in Arudhathi Roy. Her anti-American, anti-capitalism articles have a wide following among the people who believe that there is an alternate way. After criticizing every living thing in the world, she turned her attention to non-living things and the object of her wrath was the cell-phone.

“Are you going to starve to death dreaming of a mobile phone or you going to have control of the resources that are available to you and have been for generations, but have been taken away so that someone else can have a mobile phone?”[India’s dying ‘n we flaunt mobiles: Arundhati Roy]

And Gaurav Sabnis responded with the question WTF??. Arundhathi can say all she wants, but the reality is even poor people are adopting cell phones in India because they find immense use for it.
Sure, there must be a big adrenalin rush while criticizing anything used by the not-poor people as there is an audience for it and also it is a lucrative field. But isn’t she a thinker, something above the whine-bloggers? So while criticizing something, one would expect some creative suggestions from a person like her who travels around the world and reads a lot. It she really wanted to help the poor, she would have said, asking people to go back to stone age looks stupid. So let’s see how we can use the forces of globalization and technology to improve the condition of the poor. For example, there is something we can learn from the Africans, who are using the cell phones for banking.

With the new technology, a grandmother in rural area can receive money from her son, working hundreds of miles away, with the beep of her cellphone. A teenager can buy groceries with a few punches of keys. Not a coin need change hands.
It’s a high-tech solution designed to help poor people here who never have had access to banks, cash machines, or credit cards. And it’s another example of using digital technology to fast forward development in remote areas.[Africa’s cellphone boom creates a base for low-cost banking via engadget]

I have never heard any progressive suggestions from people like her. Politicians need a constituency of poor people, so do the advocates of the alternate universe.

8 thoughts on “Banking using cell phones

  1. ‘She said India’s environment faced a major crisis, caused by industrial pollution, by big dams, and in particular by unsustainable use of ground water to irrigate thirsty cash crops such as soyabeans, peanuts and sugarcane’.
    i’ll be clever and use ms.roy’s own statement to make my comment : ‘india’s economic environment faces a major crisis, caused by polluted ideas, by big mouths, and in particular by unrestrained use of celebrity to irrigate indefatiguably puerile theories and failed institutions such as socialism, public sector and progressive taxation.’ there.

  2. Studies have shown correlation between telecom and economic growth in a country. This is stronger in the developing world.Telecom industry is also working towards making communication more affordable to the poor and needy.
    Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that activists are just like most other professionals. They too have their own day-to-day agenda(i.e, to protest and mobilise) and are often good at their own tasks while failing to understand the complete picture. Perhaps, that is not their job.
    I see it as an example of
    “compartmental intellectualism” and she is not alone in this. Having said that, she has every right to express her views. In this particular case, I dont think her views are going to be of any significance.

  3. neelakantan: ‘I have come to the conclusion that activists are just like most other professionals. They too have their own day-to-day agenda(i.e, to protest and mobilise)…)
    a very neat observation.

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