April 2017 at Hartwick College featured a lecture by award-winning e-commerce marketing executive and television personality Bonin Bough. Bough discussed “Hackonomy: Lessons from the Largest Brands in the World.” Bough is the author of Txt Me: Your Phone Has Changed Your Life. Let’s Talk about It.

One of the things that interested me in Bough’s lecture was his take on digital devices. Bough “breaks down the often counter-intuitive ways mobile devices and digital data are reshaping the way we experience, consume, and think.” It’s something that I’ve been thinking about in the classroom and in daily life.

Hackonomy and Anthropology

Bough’s lecture on “Hackonomy” is also interesting to compare with the anthropology brand, which has been one of the themes of this blog. Interestingly Bough’s lecture also converges with some of the questions we tackled in my classes. For Introduction to Anthropology 2017, we pondered Is Capitalism the Best Economic System? For Cultural Ecology, looked at Will Machines Replace Humans?, Will Technology Save Humanity?, and Too Much Time on My Hands?

Hackonomy and Economy

It does certainly seem that mobile devices are much more than a flashy consumer device. In a June 2017 post on How to Talk about Money: Ethnographic Approaches to Financial Life, Erin B. Taylor details the way money is diversifying. This applies especially to the use of mobile money. The use of mobile money occurs in places where people in the U.S. might not expect it to be adopted. For example, Taylor discusses her fieldwork in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“The products and objects we use to manage our money are diversifying” writes Taylor. “While this increasing diversity presents challenges for research design, it also provides more launching points for discussions about money, and this can help us to build holistic pictures of the social life of finance. To the ethnographer, diversification is not a research problem, but an opportunity, and this as true of money as any other topic of inquiry.”

A video of Bough’s talk is also now available:

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