There’s no such thing as a free lunch they say. Although I did go to a corporate evenings entertainment with my friend. We went along to drink beer in the sunshine, chat and eat canapés. And that’s exactly what we did for four hours, and yet at no point were we approached by any member of the host firm. We have never bought any product from that firm and if anything we feel less keen on doing so simply because if we continue not to we have a free lunch story which beats what most economists think is going on.
There is another example of “free lunch” economics going on, or rather “something for nothing” which sounds perhaps more palatable and certainly is a more flexible phrase. The comes from two charities, both connected.
The first is a charity called play pump. Their idea is breathtakingly simple. They install a water pump for people who need water in Africa. But they install a childrens playground on top of the water pump and they install this playground next to schools. The simple plan is that when the children are playing on the round about they are, unwittingly, pumping water for everyone. This simple idea is so powerful and fantastic. It really is something for nothing. Their website is here: http://www.playpumps.org/
Also play pump have inspired another charity which is a little bit closer to home. It is a charity called One Water. It’s a very strange kind of charity in that they basically just market and sell a product, bottled water, but all of the profits from the sale of the water go to play pump. It’s a strange idea similar to the fair trade mark I suppose. But it does make sense. By buying water you are providing water for others. Their website is here: http://www.we-are-one.org.uk/ You can buy this water instead of other water and yet the water you’re buying is making a difference. Also something for nothing.
Here is a video about one of their projects, it’s about 10 minutes long, but probably worth watching.