Charity: I Have A Dream…
I have a dream just as Martin Luther King expressed his vision in his unforgettable ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. He was dreaming about his vision for many, many years before it finally became a reality with the Civil Rights Act of 1968, that transformed a nation.
Well I am a dreamer as well. In fact, the song ‘Dreamer’ by Supertramp is one of my all time favorites.
I am an economist by education. I am a trader by profession. I am a poker player by interest. However, most of all, I am a humanist by heart.
So how does that all come together you might ask? What is the point of all this? Please bear with me and I promise that we will get there.
Trading and poker playing are both very lonely and ego-driven subjects by definition. There is no sharing, caring, or loving whatsoever involved in these tasks. In fact, it’s a battlefield and the meaner and more selfish one is, the better one will do in both fields.
While I am good in both of these fields – I hold my own and have my success stories as well as the natural setbacks (because nothing just goes up and up and up without also coming down) – the skills, social behavior and mindset needed to execute is exactly the opposite of who I really am. I sometimes wonder how I have gotten this far and made an independent living in a field that is driven by egomaniacs. Perhaps because I am not one it kind of works well? Who knows?
Adam Smith laid down the theory about allocation and efficiency in his groundbreaking studies that were published almost 240 years ago, 1776 to be exact, in his brilliant book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations).
Since I am an economist, and I like efficiency and hate if time, money or any other resources are wasted, I would like to address some huge problems of this world that could be solved by just re-allocating goods in the right and most efficient way.
Now please don’t get me wrong here. I am not a socialist, Marxist, communist, or for that matter any other -ist in any kind of way. I truly believe that if someone studies hard, works hard, or has a brilliant idea that improves all of our lives a bit that he or she should be rewarded and have more money than the other fellows who are maybe not working or studying as long and deep in order to earn that extra buck. I am living proof of being handsomely rewarded by making more money than the average person because of working hard and putting in a big effort.
However I truly hate the fact that we produce enough food each and every day to feed THE ENTIRE WORLD but we still have people on this planet dying from hunger and there are children getting sick because of malnutrition. Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted according to the United Nations Environment Program! [Sources: Global Food Losses and Food Waste – FAO, 2011; The Environmental Crisis: The Environment’s Role In Averting Future Food Crisis, UNEP, 2009] Can you imagine that? This is also true for non-food goods as well.
On the other hand the clothing sizes in industrialized countries are reaching levels of multiple XXX’s before the letter L and that is becoming the norm. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that one-third of the population world-wide will be overweight and one-third of those will be considered obese in just a few short years.
What is even more shocking is that excess overeating and over-consumption kills more people than hunger does. Think about that. It’s perverted. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. To see the BBC News ‘heat’ map that shows the distribution of this phenomenon worldwide CLICK HERE!
This huge mis-allocation, excessive behavior (‘excessive’ because most of these people did not get that big by only eating the recommended 2500 calories a day that our body needs to function properly) and excess of production of food (we produce twice as much food than we really need and this number is way higher for non-food goods in general) leads me to believe that with the right allocation of things one could truly make a difference in the world. You can see all this in Tristram Stuart’s TED TALK entitled “The Global Food Waste Scandal” that is above in this blog post.
Now I can’t make these people eat less or the right things and move their bodies to get more out of their ONE LIFE that they have (and I truly believe we only get one life). That is the mission of my wife, Katie, who is driven to show people how to live well, be healthy and happy, boost their quality of life and expand the length of their lifespan but that is the subject of another blog in the future.
I am truly amazed when I read about how much waste we generate with over-production only to throw out things that would save lives on the other side of the planet. I am dedicated and will put all of my free energy and efforts into this project in the future to collect all those goods. The name ‘goods’ here is terrific since we can do good things with them and they do not belong in the waste bin. Otherwise they would be called ‘bads’. 🙂
I see my role here as a broker and re-allocation partner between the producer and/or user of the goods and the organizations that provide services and goods to the less fortunate people on this planet. Those less fortunate people do not necessarily have to be only the ones that are in bad need of food to survive. I am talking about ALL people who need something in order to make their lives a bit better and more normal. This can be a community, foster homes, refugee camps, Rainbow Kitchens, The Red Cross, Red Half-Moon or any other person or organization that can be supported by allocating wasted, good foods and products.
I realize that this will not be an easy endeavor and I don’t know in which way, form, or country I will start this but I think that if one is driven enough and has a dream he can make anything work that he wants to bring to fruition. For that matter, my education as an economist and my social skills allow me to deal with even the highest ranked of politicians and CEO’s on this planet. I am sure that the fact that I am religion-free and holding a neutral, Swiss passport will be of good help too.
So to close the circle here, I guess Adam Smith was right when he says that the community and all the people benefits the most if everyone is pursuing their own egotistic interests. In my case, I feel that there should be more in one’s life than just making money, living a great lifestyle, and travelling the world for fun.
The loving and caring part of life I get boatloads of in my private life from my wonderful wife, Katie, but I want to help some of the less fortunate people on this planet get a little bit something more.
I want to make a difference in their lives even if it is just for one day. That is the kind of thing that makes me feel good. I want to share and give back because that brings me to the top of Maslow’s Pyramid where ALL my needs are fulfilled. So yes, it is selfish but it will help tons of other people if I am selfishly fulfilling my dream! 🙂
My dream is to re-allocate the wasted goods on this planet by moving them from the people who have them and don’t need nor want them to the people that don’t have them and need them.
This would create a more efficient economy. It would also reduce poverty and misery around the world and create a way to reduce and manage waste. I believe that by doing this it will make the world a better place for all of us.