So that was Boston. That was hearing Bill Gates talk about delivering financial services to the unbanked via their mobile phones.
And a lot else besides. But all the rest of it - another time.
The unbanked - the exceptionally poor, with no credit records and hardly any money - can't get into the banking system because they can't give satisfactory answers to any of the "know-your-client" questions that banks are obliged to ask these days. So they can't put money in the bank. Or borrow from banks.
But they do have phones. Mr Gates' suggestion is that banks could develop very simple savings accounts, phone-based, that could be exempt (because they're so small) from all that fandango about producing ID and a utility bill, yada. Fine notion, and I'm in favour. I like the thought that the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has the clout to make it all happen.
IT is pretty reliable nowadays, and although I suppose we have to acknowledge the occasional eccentricities of the average (smart)phone, and the tendency of wifi connections to be slow or to drop completely, and the whole thing about losing your phone, dropping it, forgetting to charge it,* this could be real. Check this out.
Come on - let's be optimists.
*And all the things people say about regulators. And banks.
What happens here
This site is updated weekly, usually on a Friday although I might change that (again). I write it because (1) I like writing it and (2) I like having a deadline. More often than not, it works out as a commentary on the week just passed.
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You found me!
Welcome. Thank you for coming. But am I the right
William Essex? Click here
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Read My Shorts?
Here is yet another page of old blog posts and other writings. Sorry, but I need my metaphorical sock drawer for metaphorical socks. The link to the page is right at the end of the paragraph here.
Roads without end
Here is a passage from a review of the book The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart. I haven't read the book (yet), but the collected reviews would make a worthwhile set of political arguments in their own right. More.
State of the Union
Several commentators today saying that they've lost confidence in the US. Making their point by talking up the glories of the past. After two weeks of this administration, they're not going back.
Were they wrong, and they've seen the light? Or has the US changed? I guess the latter is the intended meaning. But we should at least acknowledge the possibility... More.