The fishermen of Kerala

Everyone has a cellphone these days. Do you remember the time these were introduced? When the first generation cell phones arrived, not only the handsets but also the carrier charges were exorbitantly high. Though the cell phones indicated a lot about your financial status, the cell phone owner also was the butt of jokes, at least in Kerala. I remember in the concluding years of 1990s, a friend of mine asking a friend brandishing a cell phone if he was a fisherman. I was surprised to hear this question. Incidentally, the fisherman were using cellphones to find the best market to sell their catch and hence the question

All these years, I have narrated this anecdote in many circles. I considered this fisherman tale to be the best example of how technology changes one's life. I always wondered why there were no case studies on this. Now, I realize I have been wrong. The Economist quotes these stories which is also one of the stories often used to extol the benefits of technology. According to Robert Jensen, a professor of Business Economics, information makes markets work, and markets improve welfare. I agree with the first part of the statement. As for the second part, the jury is still out.

Tags: Musings, Kerala, Fishermen, Technology