Monday, March 25, 2013

Another clue...  

About the world we live in.
It is World Water Day, and time for the United Nations to remind us how many people in developing countries still lack basic sanitation.
Surprisingly, the UN reports there are now more people with mobile phones (six billion for world population of seven billion) on earth than there are with access to clean toilets (4.5 billion).
That phenomenon is easily visible in Indonesia, for example, where it is common to see people who live in metal roofed shacks without bathrooms surfing Facebook on their smartphones or feature phones. And it shows how, in the developing world, multinationals are often better at responding to peoples’ needs than governments are. [More]
It also explains why the health worker I interviewed in Mozambique in the isolated village of Ruasse listed his two greatest needs not as medicines or equipment, but clean water supply and sanitary toilets.

Iglesias add more:
In rich countries we tend to think about technologies in terms of their order of adoption and it seems obvious that plumbing is more basic. But from an infrastructure investment standpoint, it's easier to build a mobile phone network than a sewer system. For that same reason, even though there tends not to be all that much competition in wireless telephony it's a lot less monopolistic than electricity. In other words, part of what makes the mobile phone a great technology is that it's useful to people even in parts of the world where the basic institutions of governance are really bad. [More]
I think it is difficult to overestimate the ability of technology to circumvent bad governance and physical problems.

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