Re: AltInst: Tradable birth quotas

From: Yaroslav Faybishenko <>
Date: Wed Aug 05 1998 - 16:44:22 PDT

> This plan creates a market in births, as opposed to a 'ideal' market where
> people can have as many births as they like, but there are no subsidies or
> public costs of any kind associated with children.

If the only thing you want is to eliminate the _public_ cost, then the
solution may be quite simple:
        What is one thing even the poorest of the poor families own and will
pass down to their children? It's the family name. So why isn't it a
tradeable commodity? Suppose that
a single woman or a family is about to have a child, but unfortunately, may
not afford the costs associated with child-birth at a hospital. So instead of
having the government subsidize these costs, a private company may step in and
offer to purchase the rights of the soon-to-be-born child to the family name
in exchange for some or all costs associated with the birth. As part of the
transaction, the company purchases the right to assign a name to the newborn.
For example, Sprint Telecommunications would be enticed to give last names of
Sprint, such as John Sprint, and Mattel may give Maria Mattel. Of course,
this practice does not have to be restricted to company names - products and
slogans would undoubtedly be used - Att Clearvoice, etc. These names might
be part of a contract for a certain length of time. For example, toy
companies might want to purchase a contract for 5 or 10 years, at the end of
which another bidder may come in and purchase a name contract for another
5 years. When a kid is 15 or 16 years old and shows promise of becoming
a scientist, soccer player, or a truck driver, he or she may want to auction
off the name again, basically acquiring sponsorship for the next few years of
life and education with the only commodity he or she owns - the name. If the
kid grows up to become a Nobel prize winner, great sports player, movie star,
or writer, then the sponsor's risk has paid off and a member of society to whom
others look up to is a walking advertisement!

Feel free to poke holes in and make fun of the above ;)

[[ Definitely amusing. But I think the freedom to change one's name, or the
name of one's child, would sink the reliability of the investment. Unless
that freedom was contracted away. And it assumes that the saturation
advertizing fetish will continue. -- DRS ]]

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Received on Wed Aug 5 23:49:56 1998

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