An Economic Anthropology Blog
I really enjoyed learning about this type of money transfer. Before watching this video I had no idea that this sort of way of handling money existed. This sort of money handling can be a way of financial inclusion for people. Not only looking at it from a financial standpoint but also from a anthropological standpoint is an excellent way of learning about the social dynamics of this mobile money network. Not only can people make money by farming or selling goods but they can obtain money in an easy and accessible way. People can maintain social ties in this way. My question is how will the company that provides the mobile phone be able to keep up with the changing markets of mobile phones? It seems that as smart phones are taking over it will lessen the market for this mobile money transfer system. It seems that this way of money transfer will only be around for a short while in lesser developed countries. There are different means of transfer that have developed in more modern countries.
With the introduction of Mpesa to Kenya in 2007 it brought a lot of change for people it both a negative and positive way as with a lot of different technological advancements. Mobile money made it easy for people to stay connected with family members or friends through this kind of money reciprocity connection, which I found interesting that money was a main reason that these family members stayed connected to each other. With this new way of helping family and having more of a social connection with someone who might not be as close in proximity to you, it also allowed for a lot of exclusion of certain social relationships. It allowed for people to choose who they want to stay connected to instead of being forced to have relationships with people just because of how close you lived to them. I found this interesting because it also caused some problems with peoples marriages and other personal relationships, which is funny because with all the new social media it makes it hard for people today to have trust in their relationship. I think Mpesa in Kenya is a good thing because it allows for people to provide for their family no matter how far away they might be, and they can start a network of relationships through this that can help them become more financially stable or help someone else become more financially stable. This helps me understand how the negative effects don't outweigh the positive effects of Mpesa
I love it how the people in Kenya used Mpesa as opposed to how it was predicted to be used, but it still turned out to be successful. It’s like when you use the wrong formula in math but still end up with the right answer haha. In David Nunley’s post, he poses the question: how will the company that provides the mobile phone be able to keep up with the changing markets of mobile phones? Which is a good question to ask and a solution should be thought of before we cross that bridge so Mpesa can continue its success. The people who use Mpesa look like they’re using blackberries and phones we here in the US used 10 or 15 years ago. Now the company that makes those phones can still make those phones because there’s a demand for those phones now. Another solution I can think of is there’s companies that you sell your old phone to so you can buy a new phone, Mpesa can just buy the phones that were sold to those companies. The last solution I think of is what we talked about in class about Facebook having drones fly over areas like Kenya where there is no internet. I did alittle research, I don’t know if it’s 100% true but, the drones are said to solar panel wings and send out wifi, sorta like a mobile hotspot. When it’s time that the people have to use smartphones, They’ll get the first smartphones that were once all the rage to us but now aren’t. Those phones won’t have any use to us but the people in Kenya will use them like they’re using the phones we see as old.
I think it is amazing how technology changes lives in every aspect. The introduction of the Mpesa not only changed the way money is handled in Kenya, but it changed the way relationships and interactions occur. I think it was interesting how people ended relationships between each other by smashing sim cards. I also think it is interesting how diverse and complex relationships and interactions become, as shown in the animated diagram in the video. The web of Mpesa transactions branches out far beyond my initial impression. Much like US social media and technology, it seems to complicate relationships just as much as it expands the opportunity for new interactions. The use of the Mpesa reminds me of the US smartphone app known as Venmo. Venmo allows electronic transfer of money between individuals, as if you were virtually exchanging cash. However, the currency does not change and a bank account is needed to transfer money. Money is transferred from your account, to your Venmo account, to another app user, and then to their bank account. However, it doesn't have an impact on US transactions the way the Mpesa does. While the phones the Mpesa is transferred through seem dated to us, the use of newer phones is not an unattainable goal. As internet expands, so will technology dependent on it. Soon, smartphones will have an Mpesa app or feature that allow people to transfer money on I phones and droids. The Mpesa allowed goods to be sold all across Kenya without face to face interaction. It opens up new trade opportunities and more ways to provide for your family.
Practices of remittances vary among distinct cultural groups around the world. A research done in Kenya examines cultural practice in the case of mobile money in Kenya and how remittances are circulated in social networks and construct social relationships. The video showed that money's been implemented around these places to in hope of financial inclusion and the provision of banking services to the unbanked. Mobile money in M-Pesa is an economic urge through assistance of international migrants. Mobile phones in Kenya create and strengthen relationships by highlighting individual autonomy and agency. It demands the neeed to participate in groups, "money Pooling" as an example..The videos example of Sarah amino shows a social network analysis of kin ties. For example, her older sister jungo live sin Holland, but she uses her funds to send remittances to Sarah and the rest of her family. Decent marriage networks are "dense" since they represent long term remittances of families through mobile phone use. Generosity drives the circulation of remittances. Secrecy, privacy and exclusion is also driving factor of M-Pesa in Kenya. Sending and receiving money is a part of 'cultural entrustment' that simplifies their personal economy and acts as exclusion from other members involved in money transfer. Informal and transient networks emerge as a result of mobile money being personified amongst distinct groups of one's own culture. These are broad statements that carry universal meanings to all social groups. Mobile money's success in the form of M-Pesa may only have success in Kenya, but the value of kinship ties the country represents through its use have begun to emerge in many cultures all around the world. Bitcoin and venmo are examples of mobile money that have taken off in places like the United States. However, These more popular mobile money companies have share a different relevance, mainly since they require a bank account, where as M-Pesa has been so successful due to the lack of opportunity Kenyans have to the universal bank. Mobile money has shown various forms of trade as its service providers success is based upon a given region. Kenya has seemed to take advantage well to this service whereas other places have not caught on; probably due to the spread and overall popularity of newly emerged programs with different options of inclusion.
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