Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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New Orphanage

Invest in an orphan
  (+12, -25)(+12, -25)(+12, -25)
(+12, -25)
  [vote for,

A place where people can invest in the life of an orphan to make sure he grows up to be successful. Then the investor is intitled to a percentage of the adopted person's earnings over a certain base amount the person can use to live on.
creator, Apr 24 2000

(??) Out of the box thinking http://math.rice.edu/~gsclark/profit.html
Anyone old enough to remember this? [reensure, Apr 24 2000]

Baked, sort of? http://www.sfgate.c.../02/18/MN192687.DTL
[egnor, Oct 04 2004]

Edgewood Center http://www.edgewoodcenter.org/
Back in the 50's and 60's when I was there, it was called Edgewood Orphanage. It was considered a "step up" from 375 Woodside Avenue in San Francisco [Klaatu, Oct 04 2004]


       I beg to rage.   

       What separates this from slavery? Orphans become a commodity that can be invested in. How would YOU feel if, after going through the tragic loss of your parents, lost even the slightest chance of earning more that "a certain base amount?" You might have the capital to become successful, but the you the poor orphan time must still invest the raw time and effort. Afterwards, you cannot keep more than your certain base amount.
dontthink, Apr 24 2000

       I believe that dontthink has misread. Creator states that the investor receives *a certain percentage* of the income above a base amount. Not everything above that amount, just a fixed fraction of it. In other words, it's like an additional income tax - and therefore has all the moral ambiguities associated with any income tax.   

       I guess my principal objection to this idea is that the orphans who need the money the most are those who are too young to make an informed decision about whether or not to accept the deal. It's bad to leave infants starving, sure, but it's also bad to put them under unlimited financial obligation without their consent.   

       Also, if I were under a contract like this, you know what I'd do? I'd incorporate. All the money that I earn would actually be paid to my corporation, which would pay its one employee (me) a small salary, ideally not exceeding the "base amount" of my orphan contract. This is assuming that I don't manage to cheat my benefactor in some other way, for example by marrying someone rich or by joining a commune or religious order where there's no personal property.
baf, Apr 24 2000

       You might have a payoff, too, in which case it's more like indenture, which is arguably not all that horrible. And why limit it to orphans?   

       As with VC money, I'd also expect the investors to make themselves available to offer advice, help their proteges out of a jam, make introductions to employers, etc. -- after all, they want to maximize ROI.   

       There are two major issues that I can see. One is the point baf raised -- who decides how much money to accept and from whom? The other is that people would all invest in the child with the most clear potential; children with learning disabilities would have very low valuations, despite the fact that if anything they need more resources. It all depends on whether you want to maximize total production or achieve a minimum level of public happiness. (Maybe that minimum bar is a public good -- no riots, etc.)
egnor, Apr 24 2000

       What happens if the child becomes a menace to society? A mass murderer? A tax cheat? Should your obligation work both ways, perhaps pay a percentage of the fines or do a percentage of the jail time?
koz, Apr 25 2000

       Ooops, my bad. One supposes that one should read more carefully when preparing to rage. My humble appologies.   

       However, that does not prevent me from objecting. Does this investment work towards the hypothetical public good or toward the specific interests of the investor? I believe egnor's ideals are somewhat in effect through practices such as mentoring and the education system. (Whether or not public education is really for the good of the educated is another matter entirely.) I suppose the point I mean to make is that if one cares about future generations enough to invest in an orphan, the investment should be made without hope of financial return.
dontthink, Apr 25 2000

       I'm backing dontthinks initial rage. Its slavery, people. So you only get a percentage of your slaves income? Well, you only have to feed him/her for a while. So the investor is 'nice' and offers advice too? Hooray for the nice master. People would invest in the kid with the most potential? Check his teeth and have an auction. What happens if your slave commits a crime? is the slaveowner to be held responsible? Here's an idea - why not just give money to orphanages because they are better than the alternative. Do you have to make a profit on everything?
ray, Apr 25 2000

       Everyone seems so down on this one! I don't think it's practical, for reasons I've already stated, but to call it slavery seems a bit much. If I wanted a slave, I'd hardly be satisfied with a contract like this. I mean, I'd think that one of the prerequisites of slavery is that it give the master some kind of authority to tell the slave what to do, and the orphan contract doesn't do that at all. It doesn't even grant the degree of control that employers have over their employees, or that a town council has over its citizens. It's more on a par with a creditor/debtor relationship - in fact, in some ways it's better than borrowing money by conventional means; when your income is low, the loan debt gets worse (due to interest you can't pay off), but the orphan contract slacks off.   

       Could you buy back your own stock? Could you take out a loan to buy back your own stock? Surely an obligation is no worse a loan if it can be converted into one.
baf, Apr 25 2000

       I believe I have just been hit in the head with a brilliant idea: adoption.   

       Now why wasn't that mentioned before?
dontthink, Apr 30 2000

       Aside from the adult consent issue, isn't this similar to what David Bowie did by selling stock in himself?
beauxeault, Jul 06 2000

       David Bowie didn't do that - He raised money by selling bonds which were backed by the projected revenues from his back catalogue. The interest rate payable on such bonds would have been dependent on the perceived risk - i.e. whether people thought that he would raise enough money through his music royalties to pay back the bond price.
hippo, Jul 07 2000

       Perhaps the investor could recieve a tax credit or something from the govt since the orphan, with the investors help, has grown up to become a productive member of society (taxpayer). The credit could be based either on the amount invested or the income of the orphan, but in either case the orphan needn't give up any of their income.
mooseknuckle-o-phile, Jul 07 2000

       A child is not old enough to make that decision. And who deserves EXTRA income tax? What if the only place the kid gets a job at is at McDonalds and makes $200 a week and the fixed rate is $150? How is anybody supposed to live on $50 a week? What an incredibly stupid idea. Besides, I believe that that is illegal (slavery, taxes not from the government).
verobay, Jul 13 2000

       I have to say that I think this idea is really half-baked, and I completely agree with dontthink's gut reaction.   

       First, the "orphanage" model of dealing with children who have lost their parents (infants, especially) is neurologically crippling, very cruel, and utterly senseless. What children in this situation need far exceeds capital resources--they need a loving family which can take them in _immediately_ and start to deal with the damage that's been done to them by the institutional setting.   

       Second, the idea that money can guarantee _anyone's_ success seems falacious. I don't see how you can say, ok, here's some money, now go make more to someone (regardless of their age and family situation) and expect a real return on your investment. Perhaps knocking kids into vocational education as early as possible after foster homes and making them pay for that education after graduation might be a slightly better way to go, although I still certainly wouldn't trust that if it weren't undertaken by the central government.
mcfrank, Jul 17 2000

       Savvy orphan investors would make sure not to waste their time helping the retarded or the handicapped, as their earning potential would not be great. Also, once the orphan futures market is created, investors would clamour to deregulate it, opening the door for people to invest in orphan insurance, in the event the little buggers don't pan out...   

       I regret that I can only give this one fishbone...
dbsousa, Dec 19 2002

thumbwax, Dec 19 2002

       I cannot believe that anyone with an iota of intelligence could have written this idea. I am in full agreement with [dbsousa] for lamenting the lack of multiple fishbones to throw at this idea.
linguist, Dec 19 2002

       If the orphan in which I invest turns out to be a poor performer does it qualify as capital loss on my taxes?
Apologetic_Cynic, Jan 23 2004

       As someone who was raised in an orphanage, <link> I can state that this is the most vulgar idea I have ever read on this site. It is not funny. It is not kind. It is in poor taste. It is blatantly offensive. Before you open your mouths and close your teeny minds, spend a year or two in an orphanage. Then, come back to this post and see if it is as funny. I think that you will agree that it is in the worst possible taste and should be deleted.
Klaatu, Jan 23 2004

       Klaatu barada niktu
Apologetic_Cynic, Jan 25 2004

       This is exactly like slavery. You buy a person and he has to give you money(working for you) in reaturn for the reat of his life!
half-n-half, Mar 09 2004

       The unfortunate fact is that people are not donating to orphanages, and people are not adopting as many children as they should. Some comments here misunderstand, verobay, that the idea is to take a percentage only over a certain amount. I would propose that it be a rather high limit say after 50% over the poverty line at that time.   

       Slavery gives one control over the slave. This is a financial obligation, not slavery.   

       If it were done, it would completely finance proper care of orphans and change the terrible way they are treated today for lack of resources.   

       Call it what you will, but charity just isn't yielding enough cold, hard cash to treat these children as they should be treated.   

       I was once adopted.
Voice, Dec 29 2005

       The thing that makes this concept effective is that it puts a sense of personal responsibilty towards the situation. Rather than simply donating money to the orphanage, you now become a sponsor. The orphanage staff is not going to do any more than make sure those kids eat and wear clean clothes. As a sponsor you have an incentive to see to it that the kid gets the love, attention and emotional support that he needs. If he still grows up to be a menace, then the sponsor is responsible. But the beauty of it is that the sponsor has the right to send him to jail. I figure that if the orphan that you sponsor robs a liquor store, better him than you. After all, if he is becoming more of a liability than an asset, you need to have him detained so that he does not cost you any more money. Sure it will probably cost more money to keep him in jail but I dont mind my tax dollars going towards keeping bad people away from me.
Jscotty, Dec 29 2005

       Surely it would be better to spend enough tax money on the children in the first place. Conditioning people from birth to think of themselves as chattel is ridiculous, why would they accept the responsibilities of society if they are denied the rights?
stilgar, Dec 29 2005

       In one form or another, civilized or not, you, me, and all of us are chattel. Why not lets be honest about it? you must work for money even if you disagree with your employer; very few are rich enough to be truely free. You are bound by the rules of those who support you, including the government.
Voice, Dec 31 2005

       While I am bound to work for an employer if I disagree with her I am free to move on to another. If I were one of the graduates of this particular orphanarium I would be bound to my owner for life. We all make decisions as to how much freedom to 'sell' in order to eat, this idea takes that right away from people before they are able to understand the ramifications of the decision. It is not quite slavery but is close enough to spit on it. I wish I could bone this again.
stilgar, Jan 01 2006

       Chattel? Freedom? The Government? But.. What about the children? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
Jscotty, Jan 02 2006


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