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Dear David Cameron, are children a market opportunity?

"Modifying the output of capitalism is the only method available to resolving the problem of capitalism where numbers trumped people – at the hands of people trained toward profit represented only by numbers and currencies rather than human beings.  Profit rules, people are expendable commodities represented by numbers.  The solution, and only solution, is to modify that output, measuring profit in terms of real human beings instead of numbers."

(From the Manifesto for People-Centered Economics 1996)

At the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, with a pitch on 'responsible capitalism' it seemed that David Caneron might be joining the cause. 

The P-CED manifesto was presented in our 2nd paper for the international Economics For Ecology conference at Sumy/  

In 2010, this was the letter which accompanied the petition from us as a social enterprise, to support those who walk his talk.

To: David Cameron, British Prime Minister

I congratulate you on your recent election success and I'm inspired by the potential of the ethical capitalism you advocate.
 
We're a UK based social enterprise working in Ukraine to advocate for social change. We've focussed in particular on disabled and institutionalised children.
 
At the age of 4, those deemed unable to feed themselves are rendered to what are know as psycho-neurological internats the institutions we've described as 'Death Camps for Children'. Children with cerebral palsy, autism, Downs Syndrome and even some who are blind - effectively discarded.
 
The strategy paper we delivered to Ukraine's government was based on out own prescription for ethical capitalism, as a social business model and called on assistance from US government.
 
Described as a 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine, it had the same targets as the original - hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos and the returnable investment over 5 years weighed against weekly spending of 1.5 billion dollars in Iraq.
 
Impact has been demonstrated, in that changes to payments for adopters has led to an increase in domestic adoption and government have pledged 400+ rehabilitation centres. As yet, there has been little progress on the latter.
 
To our call for a faculty for social enterprise and supporting social investment fund, there has also been some response in the provision of a new USAID foundation.
 
In recent news we've learned of the Obama administration's aims. That "development will be "elevated as a central pillar of national security strategy, equal to defence and diplomacy".
 
May we suggest that UK government takes a similar stance, beginning with support in this instance for "those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, who must be helped first -- not secondarily, along the way or by the way".
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Jeff Mowatt for People-Centered Economic Development
 

“There is no substitute for a loving family environment for growing children. Existing state care institutions do not and cannot possibly provide this – despite occasional, lingering claims that state care is the best care for children. This attitude is a holdover from Soviet times when the state was idealized as the best possible caretaker for all, including children. Stark reality does not support that notion.

"While this section has strong focus on financial aspects for reforming childcare in Ukraine, these are just financial numbers to demonstrate that this can be done for an overall, long-term cost reduction to state budget. That is to say, simply, this reform program is at the least financially feasible. The barrier between old and new is the cost of the transitional phase."

Calling on support from USAID in 2008,  we drew attention to how childcare institutions had become money farms and how a trade in body parts from 'aborted to order' foetuses was supplying the demands of a growing cosmetics industry. 

"There is also the much more visible matter of kids in “regular” orphanages and kids living on the streets and in sewers. Orphanages have been another money-maker via selling “top” kids to foreign adoptions. Kids with lesser market value (over seven years old and/or serious health issues) were shunted to lesser quality, out-of-the-way orphanages. Kids with no market value were tossed aside completely, i.e., PN facilities a.k.a. Death Camps, for Children. President Yushchenko rightfully suspended foreign adoptions for a period of time because orphanages were normally operated more like livestock farms with product for sale. It’s mostly not the staff who are any sort of problem in these orphanages, although redundant independent evidence strongly indicates that sometimes arrangements have somehow been made for adults to come in and “play” with children of their choosing during the night. More often it comes down to even the best, most sincere staff having had their hands tied regarding what little they could do for the children assigned to them, because so much money was displaced as to leave comparative crumbs for caring for the kids. Once orphanage children reach the age of seventeen, they’re booted out into the world with hardly any preparation to deal with it. If kids are attractive enough, they can be (and are) taken into prostitution rings and rented out for sex work. If they got a bit of training at night in their orphanage, they are better prepared for sex work. (In Kharkiv, militia runs that operation. For Donetsk and Donbass, it’s Donetsk mafia. Variations on the same theme play out across Ukraine.) Street kids are street kids mainly because they consider living in orphanages until seventeen worse than living on the streets and sleeping in sewers. Of course they also have access to street drugs to take the edge off their miseries. That coupled with unprotected sex and inevitable prostitution produces an HIV/AIDS factory. In Ukraine at this moment, HIV is a pandemic and getting worse."

In an interview for Axiom News our founder described the potentional for partnering with a social investor for a shared ROI of 10%

Ultimately , the man who taught David Cameron about responsible capitalism gave his life to make it happen

"On his death bed he was speaking only of his mission – rescuing of these unlucky kids. His dream was to get them new homes filled with care and love. His quest would be continued as he wished."
 
It was August 2011, as David Cameron echoed his words - "We are all in this together":
 
"Allowing that some people do not matter, as things are turning out, allows that other people do not matter and those cracks are widening to swallow up more and more people. Social enterprise is the first concerted effort in the Information Age to at least attempt to rectify that problem, if only because letting it get worse and worse threatens more and more of us. Growing numbers of people are coming to understand that “them” might equal “me.” Call it compassion, or call it enlightened and increasingly impassioned self-interest. Either way, we are all in this together, and we will each have to decide for ourselves what it means to ignore someone to death, or not."
 
In July 2012 I wrote Every Child Deserves a Loving Family for Mixmarket's initiative on hacking capitalism
 
Now 3 years later, with the opportunity to profit from childcare transition. David Cameron is an advocate for placing children in loving family, demonstrating that social finance will seek out the lowest risk and highest returns.
 
 
What ethics are applicable in a market for children?  
 
In his recent TED talk about the ethics of "market society" professor Michael Sandel speaks of the corrosive effects on commonality, the sense  that "we are all in it together" when placing a value on everything means that those who are wealthy and those who are not increasingly lead separate lives.
 
Our work had revealed the market value of disabled children being used to siphon benefit from state budgets, but challenging the values of the economic system and those disenfranchised, goes back to the ethics of people-centered economics, as delivered to US President Bill Clinton.    
 

Meanwhile, the US president who was introduced to P-CED 17 years ago, tells us that...

The Morgan Freeman voiceover assures us that they "keep score by the lives that are saved or improved", which is reminiscent of what Clinton was told in '96

“Economics, and indeed human civilization, can only be measured and calibrated in terms of human beings.  Everything in economics has to be adjusted for people, first, and abandoning the illusory numerical analyses that inevitably put numbers ahead of people, capitalism ahead of democracy, and degradation ahead of compassion.”

Update for February 2015

iA war now rages in Ukraine. With David Cameron having commited to send military advisors and George Soros now calling for a 'Marshall Plan' I reflect on the point made to our PM about development and defence.  As the letter to USAID concluded:

"We are grossly underfunded in favor of missiles, bombs, and ordnance, which is about 100% backwards. Now, with even the US Pentagon stating that they’ve learned their lesson in Iraq and realize (so says top US general in Iraq ten days or so ago) that winning hearts and minds is the best option, I and others shall continue to think positive and look for aid budgets and funding spigots to be opened much more for people and NGOs in silos, foxholes and trenches, insisting on better than ordnance, and who understand things and how to fix them. We can do that. We can even do it cost-effectively and with far better efficiency than the ordnance route. Welcome to our brave new world. Except it’s not so new: learn to love and respect each other first, especially the weakest, most defenseless, most voiceless among us, then figure out the rest. There aren’t other more important things to do first. This message has been around for at least two thousand years. How difficult is it for us to understand?"

 

   

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