I used to count more negative ways on how technology has impacted our lives.
I’ve always been critical of technology and its effects on humanity. Aside from the fact that it may be a bit detrimental to our health, productivity, abilities, and overall well-being, Technology has somehow led us to chaos and lack of self-awareness. Of course, I’m also aware of technology’s aid in our daily lives, and I would die without it. For example, it was only during the 19th century when Dr. William Morton discovered the anesthesia. I can’t imagine people not having to use it during surgical operations before that year. Technological inventions that are also very important and we can’t live without are can openers, ovens, stoves, and of course, our beloved smartphones. I never deny that these have made our lives easier and more tolerable.
Even though major technological innovations have impacted humanity positively in general, I cannot dismiss how technology has paved the way to evil Capitalism and a pyramiding social system: where those from the higher society take advantage of its benefits and even exploit those people who innovated them in the first place. I also despise the fact that it has cost the peaceful quality of our natural resources. The industrial revolution also cost a million lives and the notion that there should only be fewer people who can live in this world because our resources are getting obsolete. Though this is something that is not akin to my beliefs (especially since I subscribe to New Age Philosophy), this notion of limited resources in connection to technology has led to Geopolitics, war, and exploitation, especially in my beloved region, Mindanao.
The Exploitation of Indigenous Peoples and Farmers
I will not delve further into the Mindanao wars; it’s a more in-depth topic altogether, but I will focus on our farmers and indigenous people who are being exploited with their lack of technological awareness. It has been experienced further in history: how the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi successfully conquered the Philippines. Whatever measures he has done to make Datu Sikatuna make a blood compact with him, I’m pretty sure technology has a slice in that. We all have an idea of how the indigenous people live: peaceful, generous, honorable. While these people live their lives peacefully, some of the city dwellers infiltrate.
An article by James Eder entitled, Indigenous People, Ancestral Lands and Human Rights in the Philippines, featured in Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine pointed out an example of how IPs are being exploited. Two farmers were murdered in connection to a land dispute between these IPs and the Aznar Enterprises-Santa Lucia Realty Development Corporation, which was planning to build a golf course and a residential area. This is only one of the many tragedies that bombarded IPs, in terms of land-grabbing.
With regard to the farmers, many of us are aware that middlemen are lurking through their veins of existence. The middleman is the root of their hardship. An acquaintance of mine who’s working for an NGO mentioned how farmers are tormented in their everyday lives. This old farmer walks for several kilometers every day (with weighty baggage) from his farm all the way to the middleman who only buys his crops for a very minimal rate, not even enough to make up for the several kilometers he walked and the (back) pain of carrying and harvesting those crops. Now, the middleman distributes those crops to markets and is being paid a hefty price, up to 200% than what he paid the poor farmer. What a majestic life the middleman lives!
How Blockchain Technology can address these problems
Enter Blockchain–one of the sought-after technological innovations today. Here’s Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of Blockchain: “: a digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network; also: the technology used to create such a database.”
Since Blockchain is entirely new, I still have to research further on how it works, especially on the technical side, but maybe I don’t really need to. I was able to attend the press conference of Traxion, a transaction management company powered by Blockchain. I’ll explain Blockchain in terms of what I was able to understand, based on how the Traxion CEO Ann Cuisio explained it– in simple and easy terms, especially with regards to how their app can help IPs and farmers.
With Blockchain and Traxion, the middleman will be diminished. Traxion has recently partnered with other good-willing agencies to help farmers in Bukidnon and Palawan transact their farming with ease, efficiency, more value for the work and money, and trust. The app helps the farmers record and manage their crops, their expected ROI, and the income they earned from their produce. Aside from that, Traxion also enables them to have access to our national ids such as SSS, Philhealth, etc. in the app. The farmers need not go to the bank because according to Ms. Cuisio, as small and straightforward a reason, farmers are intimidated to go to a bank because they only wear slippers.
Whatever you input in Blockchain won’t be erased in that database, and no middleman or government can touch those records, so no one will ever be shortchanged. If there are attempts of anomalies from middlemen or any person sowing terror, one can trace and prove these anomalies because of the app.
With regards to land disputes, Traxion provides IPs with an ID system that will record how much hectares the IPs own. Again, these cannot be deleted in Traxion’s and blockchain’s database so the IPs can prove that their land is theirs. Currently, the government provides IPs CADT (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title), CADC (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim), and CALT (Certificate of Ancestral Land Title), but it’s a sad reality that these aren’t followed and more and more IPs get murdered or deprived of their human rights just so high-ticket people can grab their lands.
Traxion will operate through a cryptocurrency called TXN token. While cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Etherium, etc., fluctuate in value, the farmers/IPs TXN tokens do not. Traxion employees are also currently going around the country to promote how this technology can help the farmers and IPs, while also teaching them necessary technology (smartphones, etc.) little by little.
To be honest, I was quite a skeptic with Blockchain and cryptocurrency when I first heard of them because they’re just too good to be true–forming an ideal world, free from the sordidness of the elites. They are the antithesis of the federal system. However, as more of these apps are being born, I can feel a sense of hope for humanity. As of the time being, there is still no guaranteed law in the Philippines that will accept Blockchain as proof, but Blockchain is inevitable; it really is the future. I appreciate apps like Traxion for bringing this bright future for our farmers and IPs, who deserve meticulous attention and respect.
I support this app. Now, I have a high regard for the positive effects of technology. Whoever the guy Satoshi Nakamoto is, I salute him! I also salute the people behind Traxion who take an effort to empower our IPs and farmers for the betterment of everyone’s future, including yours and mine. I can’t wait to use it for my own transactions as well. I’ll blog about it when I get to use it because obviously, the app is not only for farmers and IPs. Stay tuned.
The copyright-free images used in this blog post are from Unsplash.