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Thread: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    But who's paying for that? What happens when the guy runs out of minutes? Does he just go back to not having a phone and throw his dead phone in a landfill?
    As I understand it, minutes often become commodities in small towns.

    A friend of mine did a stint with the UN in Africa and she said there was usually one or two guys in the village who would use money to buy pre-paid phone cards then trade them for the various things they needed with people who had cell phones.
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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoplite View Post
    As I understand it, minutes often become commodities in small towns.

    A friend of mine did a stint with the UN in Africa and she said there was usually one or two guys in the village who would use money to buy pre-paid phone cards then trade them for the various things they needed with people who had cell phones.
    My point is that in the places where people are living on less than a dollar a day, I don't see how the average person would be able to purchase minutes any more than he would be able to purchase a Maserati.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    My point is that in the places where people are living on less than a dollar a day, I don't see how the average person would be able to purchase minutes any more than he would be able to purchase a Maserati.
    Prepaid calling cards and minute cards are not terribly expensive. If someone is trading in them with people who may not have MONEY to exchange for the cards, but they may have livestock or crops.
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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    For the 1.2B people living on less than a dollar a day, I don't think that cell phones are the most pressing need.
    Maybe not THE most pressing need (that would probably be micronutrients)...but I certainly think cell phones are toward the top of the list. Once the cell phone infrastructure is in place, a 3G/4G infrastructure isn't far behind. And then education will become affordable to nearly everyone in the world, as it will be accessible on tablet computers and poor nations won't have to build schools anymore.

    So while it may not be the most URGENT need, it definitely has the potential to solve a BROAD range of problems...including education, economic inefficiencies (e.g. pricing), natural disaster alerts, and basic health care / sanitation information.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-17-10 at 01:51 AM.
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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoplite View Post
    As I understand it, minutes often become commodities in small towns.

    A friend of mine did a stint with the UN in Africa and she said there was usually one or two guys in the village who would use money to buy pre-paid phone cards then trade them for the various things they needed with people who had cell phones.
    That's true. In some parts of Africa (especially places with unstable governments and currencies), cell phone minutes have become a type of currency, just as cigarettes are in American prisons.
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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    But who's paying for that?
    In the U.S.? You're paying for it. So am I and so are we all.
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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    My point is that in the places where people are living on less than a dollar a day, I don't see how the average person would be able to purchase minutes any more than he would be able to purchase a Maserati.
    Generally, its a few family per phone as I understand it.

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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    You guys are thinking on a micro- scale rather than macro. The infrastructure to run a cell network is way, way cheaper than the infrastructure to run a landline network. Communications infrastructure is key to basic civilization, will improve the livelihood of the community in general.

    Yes, someone literally starving to death has more pressing concerns, but if his country benefits he is more likely to get out of that situation.
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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    Whats really going to be awesome (and to expand on Kandahar's point) is when internet enabled phones become cheap enough for these communities. Imagine the benefits of these villages having access to information on how to build anything from concrete to a generator to whatever. A lot of these villages are close to a junk pile where they can fix and use a lot of the stuff in there or get raw materials from.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 10-19-10 at 07:55 AM.

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    Re: Mobile phones help lift poor out of poverty: U.N. study

    I'm currently reading a book on just this issue. It's by Dambiso Moyo. She essentially argues that instead of creating wide scale programs that hardly benefit the local economy, these programs are exactly what Africa needs to come out of poverty. She also argues (though to a much lesser extent) that communication in Western history was what eventually led to widespread use of currency. Communication facilitates transactions. Like taxis people can create entire economies based on their use. It's been done. It's happening now in Cuba. Same as in India. Massive amounts of money flowing through the country under a free enterprise system which is not all that regulated. It's impressive to say the least.
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