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August 01, 2007


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Martin brings up a point that free market libertarians and capitalist apologists seem to studiously avoid: the "free market" as a temporary stage in a dialectic. Create a bounded space of open exchange; see what works; take over and drive out the competition. Markets are confabulations.


Martin is the unwelcome guest at the capitalist's table. He doesn't much care what they call it, "Freedom," "Free Enterprise," "Social Investment," "Micro-Lending," he sees it as predatory. He lives among artisans and see that they are getting zip out of this. Their feeble attempts to market their goods on line come to little. Meanwhile, all the hype goes to wealthy micro lenders, like Pierre Omidyar, who charge double digit rates to the poor and call themselves generous because they are charging less than the local loan sharks.


I wasn't aware Omidyar was into usura. I've seen the huge artisan communities around Guadalajara and elsewhere. They face two bottlenecks: access to buyers and transport of goods. An artisanal amazon would address both issues. They're terrific craftsmen - as are many in other parts of the world. It's a huge opportunity. Where's the bold Bezos of the artisan?


Omidyar gave 100 mil to Tufts for micro-lending to poor people. The goal, I believe, was to lend at market rates to make a good competititve profit and thereby attract even more money to that market. Ezra Pound would make an unwelcome guest at the Social Venture Feast.

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