Re: New Government?
Wed, 1 Sep 1999 12:40 +0000

>A child in deepest central Africa should be able to get a loan if the
>creditors see a profit in it. Of couse, if he were to form a personal trust
>and sell shares in himself, then he would have a vested interest in
>maintaining the value of the shares, as these would be his ticket to acquire
>further investment for going to college, starting a business, etc. The
>internet has made this all quite feasible, by reducing the various
>information costs - transactional and risk. It's just a matter of time
>before the businessmen start offering mutual funds that invest directly in
>people - kids as well as adults. And I would sure bet my money on one of
>those kids long before I would hand over any cash to some kid who has been
>indoctrinated in the state schools.

When I was living in Indonesia and marvelling at the poverty there, a friend of mine told me a story of what poverty was like in Bangladesh. He said he was driving through the countryside when he saw two men holding a piece of rope with laundry drying on it. According to his guide, it seems two or three generations ago someone had pledged his sons' and gransons' and great-grandsons' lives in exchange for a loan -- probably a small one, but more than the man could hope to obtain otherwise (and probably to pay off an even more odious debt). Now, decades later, the landlord was using these people to hold the laundry up to dry because it was cheaper than buying a stick.

This is theoretical, ivory-tower nonsense you're talking. Most people in the world are ignorant, abject and poor beyond most Euro-Americans' wildest imagination. If investing in "those kids" future had any prospect of generating more profit than holding up wet clothes in the sun, it would have happened years ago. Internet? Most people in the world don't have electricity.