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Arm them with cell phones!

Originally, I posted a teaser for a report on how cell phones can empower poor families and individuals, because it includes a survey comprising 110,000 prepaid users. Still, it’s intriguing. The study was released yesterday, with some impressive results. By giving cell phones to 38 percent of the 45 million poorest Americans, we could help them “get work or make money worth $2.9-$11 billion.” What I’m wondering, though, is how that’s going to happen.

From the report’s author, Nicholas P. Sullivan:

“Millions of Americans who are most in need are missing out today on the economic gains that other Americans attribute to their cell phones. The overall conclusion in this study is that the cell phone is extremely important to Americans for personal safety, and a huge boon to an individual’s potential economic productivity and earning power. The cell phone is particularly important to blue collar, minority, less educated and low-income segments of Americans, even though those groups are far less likely to own cell phones.”

I mean, I can see what he’s saying. Being more connected can lead to more opportunities. Makes sense. I’m not saying that we should just go hand out cell phones to those without them, but I can see Sullivan’s point.