I’m not generally a fan of ill-defined protest movements, but I’ll make an exception for a new initiative from Occupy Wall Street.
OWS is holding a benefit concert tomorrow that’s called “The People’s Bailout.” What’s interesting is how the proceeds will be used:
OWS is going to start buying distressed debt (medical bills, student loans, etc.) in order to forgive it. As a test run, we spent $500, which bought $14,000 of distressed debt. We then ERASED THAT DEBT.
(If you’re a debt broker, once you own someone’s debt you can do
whatever you want with it — traditionally, you hound debtors to their
grave trying to collect. We’re playing a different game. A MORE AWESOME
This is a simple, powerful way to help folks in need — to free them from heavy debt loads so they can focus on being productive, happy and healthy. As you can see from our test run, the return on investment approaches 30:1. That’s a crazy bargain!
Now that’s what I call a sensible approach to philanthropy–one that leverages the tools of capitalism. If only all protest movements were smart enough to adopt high-leverage market-based mechanisms for change!