Telex | A faint ping | Economist.com In March Britain’s BT will be the latest big company to cease offering telex services. “All good things come to an end,” says a spokesman. Britain will then join around 30 countries including Austria, Germany and Russia that no longer provide telex through their national telecoms operators.But that clears the way for nimble, low-cost competitors.
As LIRNEasia plans its research program for 2008-09, the issue of money transfers through mobiles (first raised in the academic literature, to the best of my knowledge, by Professor Jens Arnbak in his contribution to a book that I co-edited in 2002) is rising in importance in the news as well as in our own thinking. Migrant Cash Is World Economic Giant – Forbes.com _ India is the world leader in remittances, taking in $23.7 billion in 2005 and an estimated $26.9 billion last year, the World Bank says.
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.