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HEY GUYS! I JUST WON THE IGNOBLE PRIZE FOR POVERNOMICS!

Reader, should you not be saying, “But there’s no such thing as an “ignoble prize?”

I reply with pride that “once I’ve invented it, it will come into being.  How many of the “prize awards” you see being touted in the media existed before PR operatives invented them? You just wait!  It will soon become an annual event! And last as long as there are in existence, organisations – and individuals – capable of contributing motor-car prizes, loadsamoney and lush dinners! Media attention is expensive, what?! You see those wide smiles on the faces of the “winners?” They are caused by mirth – mirth at the brilliance of their PR hirelings!”

“All right,” you say, dear Reader. “That might be so. But a prize in “Povernomics?”

 “Yes. Quite easily coined, ain’t it? The economics of poverty. It could have been won by John Maynard Keynes. But no-one was clever as clever as him, so they could not invent it for him! And that Indian guy – can’t remember his name and I have no access to Google!”

“No access?”

“Yep. The inventors of the Internet only did have a job. They gave us the freedom to connect to everything. But first, we must pass through a “server”. And the server, not being as interested in the exchange of ideas as the inventors of the Internet, can drive us crazy!”

“How?”

“Five days ago, my generous son bought me 50 Cedis worth of credit. I’d myself bought 60 Cedis earlier. So I was riding high. I thought I had at least 20-Gig for 30 days.  But come the weekend, and what do I find?!”

“No Internet?”

“Right! Just as I was settling down to watch some favourite sports. My Wi-Fi was “secure” and “connected”. But “Internet may not be available!”

“Ei, those people are clever paa! They used the word “MAY” instead of “IS”.  So you might think there was a temporary fault?”

“Yep! They’d covered all bases!”

“Charlie, how did you survive?”

“I didn’t! How can you spend a weekend without email? Or browsing for news. Plus the inimitable Youtube.  Or the life-giving WhatsApp?”

“I hope you’re not walking about with suppressed bi-polarasis”?

“Ha — that’s the essence of my new discovery. In povernomics, those who can afford certain services are NOT charged for using them. So they subsist in a bubble of euphoria. But those who can’t afford the same services are charged so highly for them that they can’t use them. And they exist on a knife’s edge of frustration, ready to explode at any minute.”

“That explains spousocide?”

“Yes.”

“And the coup mentality?”

“Absolutely!”

“Are there examples other than the Internet?”

“Well, take electricity. If an electricity-supplying company insisted on pre-payment (a la PDS) in the USA or Germany, would it not go bankrupt? Who has the time to queue up to make a “pre-payment”?

“So, the poor guy in a developing country whose wages are probably calculated by hours worked, must put down his tools, go and queue and make a pre-payment! Unless he wants to sleep in the dark?!”

“Ahah!”

“And if you’re an Internet user, by the time you find a place to buy a scratch card…”

“Someone else would have provided the service you had intended to use the Internet for!!”

“So, the first law of povernomics is this: the poorer you are, the higher the chances of your getting even poorer?!”

“Correct for one hundred and ten marks!”

“But this has been known for ever! Didn’t JC say that “To him who hath, the more shall be added to him and to him who hath not, even the little that he hath shall be taken from him??”

“Yes! But two thousand years does not erode the truth of reality?”

“But aren’t people still being taught in 21st century Universities that “trickle-down economics” can solve the problem of poverty?”

“Hahahaha! That’s taught by economists who go UP from Cambridge, Oxford, Yale and Harvard, to make policy at the IMF and the World Bank. And who retire to become “consultants” in Wall Street and The City of London!”

“Ei, so what’s to be done about the Internet, then?”

“Hmmm! If I were one of those billionaires who want to commercialise travel to other planets, I would rather use my money to put satellites in the sky to give free Wi-Fi services to those who can’t afford to rely on Internet Service Providers!”

“Why?

“Well, imagine that in a developed country, you can have  a mobile phone service; an ”Infinity”  Internet service without a LIMIT to data usage; plus  a TV service that provides you with many sports events. All for probably less than C300 Cedis per month…!”

“Whereas over here?”

“Nobody even knows how the TELCOS calculate their charges!”

“They get “approval” from governments to operate…!”

“How are the licences granted?”

“Ask me!  Have you ever heard of an open auction for bandwidth in Ghana?”

“Come to think of it, no!”

“Ahah! They get their licences, and the government sets up a “regulatory” authority, amid great fanfare, to ensure “fair practices”…

“Yes. And what does the regulatory authority do?”

“The preoccupation one was  nor to find out how local charges compare to those overseas, but rather, how   to obtain contracts from  the Government of the day to import services for the government from the providers of clandestine services!”

“Companies like “Cambridge Analytica”?

“Or “Pegasus International!”

“Commission-disgorging instruments with no known domicile!”

“Who profit from the genera fear of “cyber-crime?”

“And meanwhile, the regulatory bodies leave the Telco’s free to set up opaque services whose tariffs few users understand!”

“To suck up unused data  by arbitrarily  “expiring” it on a date you thought was so far away that it would  never arrive!…”

“Suck, suck, suck! That’s all they do.”

“And because liberalised economies have been forced on us, their profits can be instantly transferred to Malta, the Bahamas, Dubai or Mauritius!….”

“So the rich get richer….”

“While we the poor wallow in povernomics!”

“Ha — we can’t even afford to pay you the prize money for warning us?”

“Oh you wait! Maybe in the year 30,000AD, the do-good bug will enters the brain of a free-loader like the owners of Facebook, Google, or Amazon….”

“Hahahahahaha!”

“I tell you what… Why not set up a prize-awarding body yourself? Then you can award a prize to yourself! Easily done if you appoint proxies to nominate you!  in secret, of course! That’s the name of the game!”

“I might just do that, you know!”

“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!” 

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