A View from Christopher Mims
3G Smart Phones Are an Effective Form of Population Control, Says Indian Telco
In a TV spot remarkable for its light treatment of the issue, India’s !DEA cell carrier suggests more entertainment will be the solution to the pressure of the country’s burgeoning population.
They say bed is the poor man’s opera – but what happens when all of us have access to all the opera – er, entertainment – we want? A new advertisement for India’s !DEA cell carrier posits that couples who have 3G-connected smartphones with access to unlimited amounts of entertainment will stop having babies.
The ad suggests “that there will be ‘No Aabaadi, No Barbaadi’ because people will be ‘3G pe Busy,’” but you don’t have to speak the language to understand its message:
The idea is simple – whenever there’s a blackout, people rediscover amorous pursuits. But if they have smartphones in hand, they’ve at least got an alternative to TV. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in real life. Studies of the effects of blackouts on birth rates find that people are not more likely to conceive when the power is out.
It’s nothing short of remarkable that India is a country that can joke about both its population problem and birth control, but all kidding aside, there is one level on which this message could be true. Empowering women is the shortest route to bending the curve of future population growth, and wireless access to the internet could be one way to make education more accessible in the developing world.