Ok, so this morning's idle fantasy has all the hallmarks of a sixth-form debating society also-ran. But like many crazy notions, maybe it isn't completely crazy. One reason why sending US$ 2.50 to one of the hungry billion is so appealing is that it is direct. You have money, you send money, they spend money. No middle men, no overheads, no opportunity for graft or corruption or impact assessment studies.

No hope.

But hang on. I keep reading how people in poor countries are using mobile phones to send and receive small amounts of money. And it is easy for me to send a couple of euros to the emergency of the hour by texting a specific number here. All 1 it needs is for some bright techno-whizzes to create a site that receives my donation and forwards it direct to some deserving number chosen at random. Probably people with deserving numbers have to sign up somehow. Each number gets one shot per cycle. You could even market the fact that 100,000 numbers haven't received their cash yet, so text the fookin' money. 2

Of course there could be problems; it isn't my place here to anticipate and answer all of them, even if I could. 3 Fraud? What, for US$ 2.50 a year? The very poorest won't get anything. No, but emergency aid takes pretty good care of them. Some poor people share a mobile phone. Yes, that could be tricky. I wonder whether phone owners would allow only the person holding the phone when the text comes through to have the cash. And maybe, reversing the behaviour of lottery shops here, they could market the fact that their phones have not yet been lucky.

Someone -- anyone -- either do this or tell me why it wouldn't possibly work.

  1. Yes, yes, I know, but we're talking big picture here. 

  2. Fact-checking dept.: he never said that, OK?  

  3. See note 1 above.  

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