IN THE 1987 movie WallStreet, Gordon Gekko, an immensely wealthy investor played by Michael Douglas, is shown talking on his Motorola DynaTac 8000X cellphone. When that device debuted in 1983, it was the world's first handheld mobile phone. It weighed two pounds and cost $3,995 ($9,835 in today's money).
The takeaway from the scene was simple: Gekko was rich and powerful. You, the viewer, were neither. In 1989, just 1.4 percent of Americans possessed a cellphone.
Today, there are more mobile devices in the United States than Americans. And of course, modern communications gadgets get smaller, better, and cheaper by the minute.
It's not just rich Westerners who benefit. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are now 76 cellular subscriptions for every 100...