Saturday, October 06, 2012

People Futures

I don't know if the title does justice to what I am about to say. The other two I considered were "Investing in people" and "Partial Slavery".  "FDI in people" was another contender. I am not going to talk about future of people in the sense we usually do, but instead the "future" here refers to ones used in financial markets.

Labor doesn't have a future. Again I mean in the financial sense of the term to avoid any Marxist connotation. The question is what if it did? Let's say any person could sell upto "49%" stake in himself subject to investment. Just to simplify implementation, lets say income tax of the person will be used by government to pay dividends to the "share holders" and in case of death of the person, they automatically get assets of the person (bank balance, property, etc) in proportion to their shares. Further assume that these shares are traded on a stock market so that other people/corporations can trade them.

Now that we have defined the model, lets try to see if it helps us in any ways.

Obviously anyone who made investment in Amitabh Bachchan or Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan would be making tons of money. In theory at least some investments could be handsome.

Consider education. Let's say the retirement fund of a teacher is exclusively or at least heavily influenced by the future income tax of the students he teaches. May be even his salary. Does this gives a teacher an incentive to educate the children to best of his abilities?

Consider education again. Does an industry benefits by investing in students which will be part of its labor force tomorrow? May be industry doesn't realizes this, someone else with money does.

Consider sports other than cricket in India. If their is any possibility of someone winning a medal in Olympics and possibly signing up for brand endorsements, would someone invest in players of these games?

I don't know what would this all really mean. But I do know that people are the future of any possible future we have. May be if that future is invest-able,  some people might invest in it. If nothing else, it gives us some measure of "human capital" vs "other capital" so that at least we are clear on what we as a generation believe is the "future".  May be this brings some reality (funny that speculation is what I propose as real?)  to the over simplified model of people as commodity.

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