There are more Cell Phones than Toilets in some Developing Economies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

It is by far the least dainty thing we do.  Poop.  But we all do it.  From world leaders.  To the prettiest supermodels.  Everyone has to drop trou and evacuate their bowels.  And tidy up afterwards with toilet paper.  The ladies may blush when reading this.  For it has been what they thought a well-guarded secret.  But we know it.  Have known it for a long time.  Ladies poop.  The ladies are probably wishing fervently that we change the subject.  For that is a very private matter they attend to behind closed doors.  Who emerge as pretty as they entered.  With no telltale sign of what they just did.  But as it turns out there a lot of people who don’t have that luxury (see More people have access to cellphones than toilets by Eric Pfeiffer posted 3/22/2013 on Yahoo! News).

A new United Nations study has found that more people around the world have access to a cellphone than to a working toilet.

The study’s numbers claim that of the world’s estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet…

Interestingly, the report states that India alone is responsible for 60 percent of the world’s population that does not use a toilet, an estimated 626 million individuals. Yet, at the same time, there are an estimated 1 billion cellphones in India…

Driving the point home, more than 750,000 people die each year from diarrhea and one of its primary causes is from unsanitary conditions created in communities without access to toilets…

“This can also improve the safety of women and girls, who are often targeted when they are alone outdoors,” said Martin Mogwanja, deputy executive director of the U.N. Children’s Fund. “And providing safe and private toilets may also help girls to stay in school, which we know can increase their future earnings and help break the cycle of poverty.”

Interestingly it is the free market that can bring cell phones to anyone in the world.  Even in places the government can’t provide a safe place for women and girls to go to the bathroom.  Because market forces can often function despite dysfunctional government.  But government can’t provide the most basic services even in places where the free market can bring cell phones to the masses.

The moral of this story?  If you want an advanced, safe and sanitary country you need to unleash free market forces.  Which can produce the materials and expertise to install state-of-the-art sanitation systems.  And the tax revenue to pay for it.


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