Economics As a Factor in the Late Adoption of Technology


Well, if that's not the worst headline I've ever written, I don't know what is.

The ever-dreadful Helen A. S. Popkin trots out some elitist cheap shots at people who use Internet Explorer version 6.0 and passes it off as something snarky or funny (and, remember, snark on the Internet is worthless):


What Popkin is trying to push out there runs along this vein:


Now, what might throw this model for a loop? Well, consider this.

If you are unemployed, what are the chances that you're going to go out and buy a new computer? Very slim. And if you live in a rural area where there's virtually no broadband available, what are the chances you were all that concerned about owning a modern computer in the first place? Even more slim, I suppose.

So, maybe, just maybe, those folks who are still using Internet Explorer 6.0 live in an area where there is limited access to (somewhat expensive if you're unemployed) broadband. And, if that's the case, why mess with a browser that works when all you're doing is a handful of online tasks anyway? You're not looking at videos or playing online games or reading much news with a dial-up connection. You're doing E-mail and not much else.

Also, think about this. How many people still have Windows XP loaded on a computer? Ding, ding, ding! I do. I still have my 2005 Dell Inspiron laptop and I still have Windows XP on it. Why? Because it works. Theoretically, I could still have IE 6.0 on it, but I don't. I have IE 7.0 on it and Firefox (previous job requirements had me using IE exclusively for work from home, don't ask).

And why do people like me have Windows XP on machines? Because Windows Vista bombed and didn't work. Windows XP is still a very popular operating system. And what works like a champ with Windows XP and doesn't run very slow? Why, Internet Explorer 6.0 does, if it's set up right and if you're using dial-up.

You see, not everyone lives in an area where there are jobs, money, consumer goods, and rampant waste of perfectly good resources. You'd be surprised what people throw away these days. And you'd be surprised how resourceful people are when they're broke and don't have much. This is not ageism, or a bias against rural folk we see in this article--it's outright elitism. What a shame. But, it shows how ignorant people are of how Americans are being forced to live in this economy.

Sneer if you wish, but some of those people using IE 6.0 might be a hell of a lot smarter than you think.

How smart do you think the people who built that tower you see pictured above were? They were Germans living here in Central Europe hundreds and hundreds of years ago. What education did they have? What skills did they have? Well, they knew how to follow a plan, assemble stones, cut them, level them, balance them, and align them in such a way as to put them up and have them standing today, even after this particular castle was brought down by siege implements. Do you really think there's anyone around today who could build something like this with primitive tools by hand and not have it fall down?

Who's stupid now?