Those of us who easily afford a phone, or internet connection forget how difficult and expensive it is for those on low or even no income to survive.
Increasingly, accessing government services requires smart-phone apps, text messages, and/or internet access.
Going to a government department, and queuing up for sometimes hours, and often being asked to come back with one more peace of paper for even basic services is difficult, and humiliating.
I have had to comfort a friend who was suffering depression, and struggling to cope with bureaucracy for her basic services.
It works for the government, because it is cheaper to have computers replace people.
It is the poor who pay the price…
THE HIGH COSTS of connectivity represent an increasingly large slice of household incomes for low-wage workers. Even though maintaining these connections has become necessary for many low-wage workers, their incomes have not kept pace. According to 2020 numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, those in the lowest 20 percent of income earners spent $150 more a year on their cell phones than they did in 2016. The cost of connectivity represents more than half of what these households spent on electricity, and nearly 80 percent of what they paid for gas. As a proportion of household income, the lowest earners spent four times more on phones than high earners. With inflation looming, these issues are likely to get worse before they get better.