Musing about necessities and jaded tastes

Gideon Rachman, who’s been blogging over at for about a year now, wrote a fascinating little teaser on why he loves Wikipedia. While commenting on the “big division of opinion between people from the rich world and from the developing world”, Gideon states:

But people from Europe and the US were often  more inclined to “Keenian gloom”. They talked about the spread of pornography, gambling, cults — and the destruction of the business models of traditional media and with that the collapse of vital sources of authoritative information”.

I find that fascinating. An avenue that I hadn’t considered deeply enough. There are so many nuances I experience when I read that sentence of Gideon’s. I start wondering whether “western” use of the web for pornography and gambling is really about cultural decadence rather than the availability and proximity I had assumed. I start wondering whether the developing world’s enterprises will derive value from Enterprise 2.0 and social software much earlier than their developed world counterparts, a legacy effect I hadn’t considered before. I start wondering whether the developing world will leapfrog the developed world in the use of social software in general, as they are appearing to do in the mobile and wireless contexts. I start wondering.

That’s why I like being Confused. Thank you Gideon.

An aside. You may have noticed I have carefully avoided linking to anything on or by Mr Keen. I don’t do link-whores.

8 thoughts on “Musing about necessities and jaded tastes”

  1. Dear JP,

    You are certainly not “confused” by any trivial issue at all.

    Why only “western” use of the web for pornography and gambling is a decadent signal? Why the eastern use is not?

    Reading about Roman incorporation of marriage among siblings at that time was a signal of openness to a new Egyptian culture. Maybe too open it is true. But may we have another view of the use of pornography?

    Why do you say that the developing world’s enterprises are not deriving value from Enterprise 2.0 and social software faster? Of course if pass the barrier of having decent Internet, then you can make a test: choose at Linkendin, executives from Argentina. You will se plenty of my friends. Make another one: find the demographics or Orkut, you will find that Brazil is maybe # 2.

    One thing is sure. There are people who do not understand there is game in the world. Maybe less than 3% of the world know how to play the games. Just a few of them make the rules. And most of them are in the US. Either we like it or not.

    Mario Ruiz

  2. JP,

    Thanks for sharing this . Your interpretation does give a totally different perspective and it is really fascinating, especially as someone who is part of the developing world. I think over the last few years the developing world has overtaken the developed world in realising the power of software and the internet and ofcourse mobiles as you have pointed out. This reminds me of the story about the hare and the tortoise race and I am excited and eager to see the real life result!

  3. […] Money cultures and technologies will co-evolve more rapidly beside and beyond the established structures than within them. Mobile technologies for money – MPESA, OBOPAY for instance – are establishing in the developing world where landlines and conventional banking are unrealistic. Before any such systems were released for “real” money between “real” users and “real” bank accounts, you can be sure they were tested on virtual users and virtual banks, and moved virtual money. Systems that can support “real” money can readily support other currencies in parallel – how long before we have chips with everything? […]

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