Global Access Inevitable
The numbers of Internet users grows daily, enhanced by the easier acces of cell phones, and growing wireless infrastructure.
Soon the entire world will have some access to the World Wide Web.
Cellular News reports in October of 2007 that access will shortly blanket Africa, "At the Connect Africa summit, the GSM Association says that the mobile industry plans to invest more than $50 billion in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years to provide more than 90% of the population with mobile coverage."
Furthermore, consumers will adopt new mobile technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communication) and other physical mobile payment methods to pay for everyday goods and services by 2011. NFC and other physical mobile payments methods will begin to offer consumers a viable alternative both to cash, credit and debit cards supporting their increasingly mobile lifestyles."
Wireless access for everyone is coming, it will continue to be fueled by enormous increases in the ease-of-use of technology, commercial market motivations for opening emerging markets, pressures to create wealth without taking from the environment, and afford ability.
Global Access, which is the heralding of the New Information Age will be the reality shortly for many other converging reasons, including:
1) Continued cost reduction in computing and communication capabilities, particularly wireless connectivity.
2) Local-to-global access to nets is rapidly expanding,with emerging markets having the fastest growth trends in new access locations. The access is being brought and paid for by major corporate investments in wireless connectivity that use low-cost, low altitude satellite relay links accessible even by hand-held devices.
3) Everyone will have a computer, even children without power or running water have access to the Internet right now through programs such as One Laptop per Child, Inveneo or Room to Read.
4) Easier use by a growing number of diverse individual users will be enhanced as networks incorporate automatic language translation, and as speech synthesis and recognition simplify the user interface.
5) An increasing level of individual capability worldwide due to growing education and experience will continually expand the user base.
6) The recent availability of music and video, highlight how rapidly user interfaces for networks are evolving to fully engage users. Ultimately, virtual reality can be expected to be commonly included in user interface with networks. We already see virtual worlds creating their own private economies, examples include Second Life, World of Warcraft, and Entropia.
7) The merging of interactive TV such as Joost, phone pad services, and virtual reality with cable and telephone networks to provide entertainment and a host of services has become the basis of major evolution of the entire communications and media industries.
8) The Self-organizing properties of net users has been exhibited most vividly in the explosive, bottom-up growth of Internet social networking websites. Although originally driven by a highly expert core of professionally-involved computer users, the current growth reaches far beyond such origins and indicates that self-organizing patterns of unsophisticated users will grow rapidly as more capable and easier-to-use access becomes commonplace.
9) Individual empowerment to create wealth such as in the FDU Game, "private" 2-way communication, anonymity, and multiple virtual personalities.
10) Increasing availability of attractive and affordable services, individually selectable, and globally accessible in a variety of digital currency options.
Emergence of new benefits for both customers and suppliers of goods and services alike will drive the Information Age economy, creating new markets; as they do so we expect to see the further deterioration of the nation (welfare) state and a more symbiotic relationship develop between consumer and corporations. How wealth is created, earned, and valued will change in the information age as the financial industry catches up with the peoples need. "The impact that the Internet and similar technologies will have on the financial industry is going to be enormous" says James A. Dorn, Cato Institiute's vice president for academic affairs, in his preface to the new Cato book, The Future of Money in the Information Age.
In this publication he makes that point clear. "The basis of the new monetary universe is sand rather than a Federal Reserve note. The advent of e-money offers the possibility of privatizing the supply of currency, paying interest on small deposits, and making offshore banking accessible to many individuals. In the future, government fiat money may disappear as people choose to hold digital money issued by private firms rather than non-interest-bearing paper money issued by central banks."
The book, edited by Dorn, contains an introductory essay by the editor, papers by previous Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, and one by Lawrence Gasman, former director of telecommunications and technology studies at the Cato Institute. Contributors examine the regulatory climate; the impact of e-money on taxation, banking, and monetary policy; and the problem of maintaining privacy in the new monetary universe.
In the first section, "Electronic Commerce and Monetary Evolution," Lawrence H. White of the University of Georgia argues that if issuers of digital currency could promise privacy and safety and pay interest, there would be sufficient reason for individuals to use digital money instead of government fiat money. That change, White maintains, would not necessarily mean the end of central banking and a shift from the current monetary system. Digital money could be made convertible to U.S. dollars.
Alan Greenspan, in the lead essay in the second section, argues that the Federal Reserve must not act too hastily to regulate e-money. In the case of the electronics payments system, Greenspan emphasizes that "the private sector will need the flexibility to experiment, without broad interference by government. Government action can retard progress, but almost certainly cannot ensure it."
In their essay, Jerry Jordan and Edward Stevens of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland maintain that e-money will eventually crowd out fiat money. They contend that financial innovation is likely to reduce the demand for bank reserves to near zero, but that will not, and should not, necessarily reduce the Fed's control over the money supply. "The reliability of monetary policy," they argue, "depends not so much on the amount of [central-bank] money demanded as on the predictability of that amount."
In contrast, Catherine England of George Mason University argues that a system of private competing currencies would be sustainable and far more desirable than the current system of central banking. In the future, she predicts, "what is 'money' will be determined by what buyers and sellers accept and use as money rather than by government definitions." And that, she maintains, will be a positive change because the "history of government management of money has, except for a few short happy periods, been one of incessant fraud and deception."
What the Information Age will offer us is an alternative to fraud and deception, a place to co-create a new type of wealth without taking from the planets resources and a forum where we need not fear being held-up, forced, or overtly manipulated against our will. This will allow you more freedom than you might currently be able to imagine, use it with joy.