Published March 30, 2020
Congratulations to Assistant Professor Nadine (Shaanta) Murshid and her colleague on publishing their article, "Techno-market fix?' Decoding wealth through mobile money in the global South," in Geoforum.
Boamah, E. F., & Murshid, N. S. (2019). “Techno-market fix”? Decoding wealth through mobile money in the global South, in Geoforum.
The use of mobile phones for financial services in the global South has gained prominence in the last decade. These financial technology (FinTech) services, popularly known as mobile money (MM), offer an avenue for financial inclusivity, a recurring theme in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This paper, largely conceptual but interlaced with empirical examples from Ghana and Bangladesh, critically examines the rise of mobile money in the global South. Specifically, it employs David Harvey’s adaptation and redeployment of the laws of accumulation to relate the economic phenomenon of MM to the capitalistic relationship between capital and labor. We argue, among other points, that MM emerges as a techno-market fix to make visible, bankable, and taxable the hitherto invisible, unbanked, and untaxed urban sub-proletariat who are mostly engaged in the informal sector. Thus, whether in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia, the underlying laws of accumulation through MM are the same: make informality visible in order to decode wealth, and accumulate for the sake of accumulation. We conclude by briefly reflecting on how our arguments contribute to the literature on economic, digital, and development geographies of postcolonial economies in the global South.