A crash course in changing the world.
I am currently teaching assistant for a class on entrepreneurship. We aid students in creating and implementing entrepreneurial ventures for the semester. In this way, not only do the students learn from lectures but also by doing. The main project of the course is to run a business and report their findings. The students get seed funding through micro-loans ($100-$200) that we the teachers negotiate with them. We are currently mentoring and aiding the students with their businesses.
What is currently happening is truly amazing. The students realized that the micro-loan was really just something to lift them off the ground. What really matters is the skills and abilities of each group to do something meaningful. The money they were given actually can be limiting and disrupt their thinking on endless possibilities. The money that is being exchanged is merely a medium for the transaction of skills. However, to ensure that the loan does get repaid there is tremendous collaboration between lender and borrower to implement ideas that work. For instance, one group is producing a coupon book and working with local retailers but have had six iterations of their idea, from an advertising website to SMS coupons to the coupon book. The group was trying to get realtors but they weren’t biting. We told the group to setup two levels of ads, one that was exclusive but cost more, the other was not exclusive but cost less. It worked, one realtor invested in the exclusive option.
If money is a medium and a human construct then both how it is used and its meaning can change. The value of something tends to be an average of demand, so at the same time one person could feel like they are getting screwed while the other thinks they are getting a steal. I think the digitization of money will slow inflation and make people focus on trading skills. If people can us their skills to setup businesses with micro-loans, then the standard of living of the world will slowly increase.