Monday, July 22, 2013

Want to Steal My Mobile Phone? I Didn't Think So

Hardware is getting so cheap that it's hardly worth stealing.

Want to steal my mobile phone?

I didn't think so. You may think the point of this post is that some old guys are too dumb or poor or Neo-Luddite to have smart phones, but you'd be wrong (not about some old guys being Neo-Luddites when it comes to smart phones, but about the intent of the post).

Or maybe you're guessing that the post is about the remarkable durability of ancient technology (i.e. this Nokia phone). Once again you'd be wrong (not about the durability of this phone, but about the intent of the post).

The point is that hardware is getting so cheap, it's hardly worth stealing. The value of this phone has been reduced to the few calls you could make before the account is closed, not because it's been thrashed but because dumb phones are essentially free now.

The cost of a low-end but fully functional PC chipset is $25. Fully functional Android-powered tablets are $40 in China. How long will it take before some manufacturer assembles a low-cost smart phone chipset with a cheap, low-rez screen running Android and sells it for $40?

Thieves snatch iPhones out of teens' hands because they cost $500 and have a high street value. Once smart phones with most of the same capabilities as iPhones and Galaxy phones are available for next to nothing, the street value of all but the highest-end phones will be near-zero.

Consider flat-screen televisions. Yes, they're still expensive if you want a 2-meter screen, but if you're OK with a slightly less than 1-meter (32-inch) screen, they're about $200.

Is it really worth breaking into somebody's house for a TV that's worth $25 at the swap meet? That's why smash-and-grab thieves stick to jewelry, laptops and cameras.

The price of cameras and tablets are dropping fast, too, and perhaps the days of sub-$200 low-performance but fully functional laptops is closer than most imagine. The form-factor is maybe $25, the chipset $25, the keyboard $5, and the screen maybe $40, and the speaker/camera a few bucks.

The abundance and low cost of stuff is reducing the street value of hardware and many goods to next to nothing. Value of particle-board furniture: near-zero. Value of rusty cheap bicycle: near zero. Value of dumb phones: near zero. Value of surplus clothing: near-zero.

Unless the household contains real jewelry, burglars will find precious little worth stealing in the average household once low-cost tablets, cameras and laptops sell for $10 at the swap meets.
Throw in the risk of being caught on camera by cheap security systems and being pursued by a cheap privately operated drone, and much of the thievery game starts losing its appeal.

White-collar crime where the thieves are skimming millions remains lucrative, of course, and the risks of getting prosecuted are near-zero. But that's another post.... 

Things are falling apart--that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:

go to print edition1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability
3. Diminishing returns
4. Centralization
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy

Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).
We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.

Kindle edition: $9.95       print edition: $24 on
To receive a 20% discount on the print edition: $19.20 (retail $24), follow the link, open a Createspace account and enter discount code SJRGPLAB. (This is the only way I can offer a discount.)

Thank you, Ray C. ($5/month), for your supremely generous subscription to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.Thank you, John S. ($50), for your monumentally generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Terms of Service

All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.

Our Privacy Policy:

Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Adsense and Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative)
If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.

Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted
on my site.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP