Tim Ferriss is promoting a new charity idea that he is working on called LitLiberation.
It’s not really my thing but I think it would be really cool if a charity announced a partnership with WheresGeorge.com, the money tracking site. All charitable donations would converted to cash before they were deposited and then their serial numbers would be entered into the database. For the rest of that bill’s circulation, as it was tracked by its exchangers, the donation giver’s name would show up as the originator and labeled as “charitable.” But more importantly, they could trace its path all over the world, seeing the “good” that it is doing–maintaining ownership in a way that keeping it would have never really touched. And here’s the thing, it looks like the ultimate transparency, a truly open charity. But it’s really since it all goes to the bank, they aren’t significantly more accountable then they are now. Wouldn’t every other charity have to do the same thing? I know where I would put my money.
It’d be really awesome if there was a way to do this with micro loans — track how the money you’ve pumped into that economy circulates. But the nature of the economy that would make a micro-loan helpful kinda precludes the whole “track with the Internet” part, due to the lack of… Internet.
Yeah that would be really cool. Even if updates were rare it’d be interesting to see it go from Africa to Europe to the US to strip clubs to a school or whatever.
My problem with microloans–as I will write about in my post on Farewell to Alms–is that often the culture in the country negates any of the effects of the loan. It doesn’t matter if you get 20 people to raise chickens if the overbearing direction of the country is backwards.