I was on Skype talking a lady in the Philippines. I thought she owned an internet cafe. It turned out I was wrong. When she was having technical problems with her computer, she called over her 10 year old daughter. It quickly became obvious who the true genius was. I talked to her for a minute. While her mom probably typed at about 20 words per minute, the daughter was closer to 80. Shortly thereafter, I noticed a hand written sign - "Welcome to ----'s internet cafe". Not the mom's name, but the daughters name.
I soon learned that the daughter started the business at their home. She rents two computers out for 10 pesos per hour each. The exchange rate is currently 42 pesos to a dollar, so this would only seem to be around $.50 per hour.
However, this was a very poor area on one of the outlying islands. It wasn't Manila or Cebu. I have talked to other ladies in that area. Average salary is about 180 pesos PER DAY.
This girl is pulling in over 200 pesos per day with her little business. She makes more money than her mom. Note that she saved money for years and borrowed money from family and friends to get her first computer.
This is just a small example of what is going on over there. The Entrepreneurial lifestyle is very much alive and well over there. The last time I traveled there, I saw little tiny businesses being ran out people's home everywhere. No one relies on state welfare and most families are fairly independent.
Compare this to America. When a child tries to open a lemonade stand, they are stopped by the government and threatened with fines and jail if they continue. I just recently read an article about a lady with cancer being told that she couldn't hold yard sales to try and raise money. Only two yard sales allowed per year.
A few years ago, I saw a newspaper article about a lady that was running a small grocery store out of her apartment. There were no nearby stores in her area, so she bought some refrigerators and freezers, bought some stuff wholesale and started selling it. When the local authorities learned about it, they actually sent undercover officers to her small business to make a few purchases. Soon after that, they arrested her. Turns out, she was violating all sorts of ordinances and zoning regulations. The newspaper and authorities made it seem as if she was a threat to the community. She ended up doing a couple days in jail until she quickly accepted a plea offer that gave her a year probation.
So while Ben Bernanke and his friends are giving trillions of dollars to banks, we are destroying the true economy. California just eliminated all their Amazon affiliates by imposing a totally unreasonable tax.
We may seem way ahead of the Philippines. I earn over 15 times what they earn per hour. But remember, food and rent is significantly less. It is only imported luxuries that are truly expensive in amount of labor to acquire them.
Children are taught and expected to fend for themselves. I asked the young girl if they taught typing in school. It was just a polite "make conversation" question and I expected the answer to be yes. I was surprised to hear that she had taught herself on her computer.
This is true economic growth at the bottom of society and it would be much faster if the government there didn't have a 100% import tax on most stuff.
This is knowledge and useful services that are spreading like wildfire. They have internet access in many of the poorest places. And not phone modem quality either. Remember, I was able to engage in a video phone call with the mom using Skype.
Many of the large Asian cities are starting to look more modern than our cities.
Sorry, if this seems like a rant. It just makes me feel a little sad to realize how far and fast America is falling. I just needed to express my feelings.
"Many of the large Asian cities are starting to look more modern than our cities." They are. This country is going backward.
In a word, liberalism. As you alluded to in your post its unrelenting and burdensome regulation holding back innovation and entrepreneurs from lifting us all to prosperity. I have read that regulation cost the country 1.75 trillion dollars a year! Thats a lot of money and for what? So the government can issue permits to lemonaide stands, require they pay minimum wage to their "employees" make sure they are paying social security taxes, have at least one handicapped parking spot, a bathroom with a sign that employees should wash their hands, make sure their kitchen is of a certain sized based upon the number of customers, provide a separate smoking section, and on and on! All for what to protect me from making a decision to drink lemonade that might contain a bacteria that could make me sick? Like I'm not capable of that judgement on my own?
All big government brought to you by liberals, the reason jobs are leaving and America is sinking. Until we purge this country of liberals we're doomed to failure!
I don't take it away from any child who sets up her own business (especially a child who apparently has a mother who can't even really type on the computer well). Technology has made it possible for people in poor areas to make money. There was some "business guy" who gave some women in poor areas cell phones, and they turned having a cell phone into a little business of charging others for using their phone. People will find a way to earn money if they anything at all that they can do it with, and children are no exception if they're reasonably intelligent (and most are). Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention.
Having said that (and again, not wanting to take anything at all away from a kid who sets up her own business), the fact that some kids in some other countries are doing that type of thing doesn't say that there aren't kids in America doing something similar (or some version of it). I can think of 10/11-years who have been featured on news programs because they've written a book or started up a program to get Thanksgiving dinners to the local people who don't have money to buy it. There are kids who have started all kinds of fund-raising type things that have taken off, gained support, and amounted to the kids being in the media and their own spokespeople for their own causes/businesses. A high school girl was featured on Oprah's show because she started up her own soap/shampoo business for make products for people whose skin reacted to chemicals in commercially made products. That kid ended up with a contract with WalMart and then needed to get a little building to keep up with her growing business.
Maybe it's impressive and new to see some kids from countries that, until more recently, didn't have ways for people in poor or rural communities to make money; but the fact that (fortunately) such ways are now available to those people doesn't mean that there's an "either/or" thing, and that many American kids aren't doing some version of such efforts. Conversely, just because a kid in some rural area in another country is living in the streets, that doesn't mean there's not some American kid living in the streets either. It's not "either/or". There's "room at the top" (of whatever the thing is) for everyone, and there's also room at the bottom for everyone too.
Two of my kids, both in their twenties (the other one is in his thirties, so he's that much farther away from being a teen) have multiple business/personal endeavors. They aren't all that different from any of the friends they've grown up with or from other young people I know in middle-class America. One works in publishing for 12 hours a day, has a second job doing fundraising, has taught guitar on the side, writes, and has his own business websites related to either publishing or guitar. The other is pursuing two majors, as well as a certificate in teaching signing. While she'd been in school she's had the "side effort" of earning increasing credentials as a child-care worker while she earns a living and finished school. She's got more than one business (one offline but with its own website), is active in a couple of causes, and has volunteered at animal shelters because animals are one of her causes. She has designed her own websites, is an artist who paints and draws but also makes two different kinds of crafts (and sells some things online). Both of them have social lives. Both find time to take more courses and/or read for their enjoyment.
Of just a few of their friends, there's an accountant, a couple of college professors, an architect, a fashion model, one who works in politics, one who has "some Washington D.C. professional job", one who has his own CD out (but works as well), a public-health professional (Masters degree level), and a couple of others working in business. These are the kids they've known since their school days and still remain friends with (to some degree). That's just one little circle of American young people (and I haven't even named another bunch of them in the interest of time and space here).
All my not be perfect in America, but it is not "falling". A whole lot of people, for some reason, either want or need or enjoy believing it is. A lot of people of my generation (Baby Boomers) have gotten better education and better "level" work than their parents. It looks to me as if my kids' generation are doing that one better by becoming educated in, or developing skills in, multiple areas. Yes, many have had the benefit of not being hungry throughout their childhood, not having to earn money unless they wanted to, and parents who have received at least a certain level of education; so maybe they've had some advantages over kids from poorer countries. Still, with a generation of of twenty-somethings who are as hard-working, educated, and talented as so many of these young people are; I don't think America has to worry about leaving its future in the hands of people like this.
I think it's safe to say that most Americans would very much like to see kids (all people) from some of those rural and/or severely disadvantaged regions in the world have similar opportunities to those American kids have had. Now, with technology, many more kids from such regions will get to show how smart and industrious they can be.
I took my grandson to his first day of kindergarden yesterday.
There was a down-syndrome child starting too.
Thank god for a country that cares enought to spend more so that child can have a teacher with him all the times, and be a part of the school.
Same school also had a child years back who was confined to a wheelchair. The school built an elevator up to the stage, just for that child so that child could participate in the school plays and singing events.
Thank god I live in a place that considers this important, rather than saying: "Go fend for yourself kid."
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