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Friday, 21 March 2008

The World's Money Problems.

Or, at this time, the lack of, brings to mind a project I did at school some 32 years ago. The project theme was not rocket science nor, probably, is it viable but the overall theme of the project is something I have advocated for for years since.

The project itself lasted for the full year. Other students, as we were called at the high school I attended at the time, had other projects. My 'team' had 8 members and every one of those members felt the project worth doing. At the end of the year a simulated financial market was assessed and those whose project came out top 'won'. In reality of course, no-one won anything, well, except for a gold statue, which incidentally I still have in my possession.

The projects where side events. They bore no relation to students end of term results or status. It was, I think, a way to get 15 year olds interested in what was happening on the world stage. Both financial happenings and happenings in each country around the world and as an aside taught us to focus. The reality was that we, and we learned other project groups did the same, would meet up during 'playtimes', or as our school called them 'break periods', during, but after eating, dinner times and perhaps most surprising to todays headmasters, headmistresses and teachers, after school sometimes 3 times a week. These after school meetings accelerated towards the end to 5 evenings a week and some weekends as well.

It certainly focussed our collective minds. Realise that this was the 1975-1976 term. A time when teachers where allowed to create there our agendas as long as their students had the required amount of the 3 R's thrown in. I strongly doubt such projects would be done nowadays but that is by the by.

So, what was this project and how did it relate to the blog title?

Well, we devised a way by which all the world money markets could be closed down. Money would bcome a thing of the past. People around the world would still work and those that refused to work at all would be refused basic amenities and food provisions. If they then decided their best course of action is to steal then they would be thrown in jail for their efforts. A by-product of this scheme is that married women would not be forced to work. Women with children but no partner would do work suitable for a women with child. Of course there was much more in depth things to it all but that is the very basics of our project plan results. How did it work out after a year, well a years school term? Perhaps surprisingly well. The strongest resistance came from those with money. Those lower down the social scale took to the overall idea very well.

It all probably sounds outlandish and the produce of kids on the lower spectrum of social life but nothing could be further from the truth. We were a school with a social mix across the spectrum. However, you have to remember that at the end of the day that this was a school project and as such is prone to mistakes and assumptions only teenagers can make. That said. The year long work culminated in being assessed by 'our betters' (a term itself that would hold no meaning in our Utopian financial world. The results of our year long endeavors were presided over by 4 managers of local banks and for our pains our project won first prize, which consisted of that gold statue, today work £2000, and an all expenses paid holiday for 3 weeks during the summer recess in Australia paid for by the 4 banks. Well worth the effort taken to get to the end with a project eventually deemed doable and presented in such a way as to allow the overseers to clearly see the culmination of our idea.

It will probably never happen, at least not in my lifetime. As an aside, can you imagine high schools of today allowing such a wide and free ranging project to be done? I cannot.

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