My Name is Bond,
Youth Bond!

I am a memorial to all who died young,

Who gave their lives, who lost them.

 

To all who have no work, no hope, no future,

I exist to make amends, to right the wrongs,

To give now what then was rent away.

 

To make that the coming day

Ensures for all the generations hence

What, denied, their forebears never knew

– a life lived full, initiatives unfolded. 

 

But this above all else I pledge:

That those initiatives be fully funded

 

 

 

 

 

Poem by Christopher Houghton Budd
Sculpture by Raoul Hunter, Quebec City River Front

Commemorating the lost generation of
World War 1
(and all wars since)

The idea of Youth Bonds began as a way of commemorating the lost generation of World War 1 (and all wars since), by creating a worldwide financial ‘event’ designed to engender a positive contribution to society on the part of today’s youth, with the potential of forgiving and making good the ruination back then of whole swathes, if not an entire generation, of young people, mainly men. 

 

The idea, which is addressed to anyone ‘out there’ who has the will and means to give it life, first arose in 2011 and 2012 as a proposal to Buenos Aires Legislature, then as an idea for the government of Flanders in link with its WW1 commemorative events. In its 2011 publication, The Great War Centenary in Flanders, the Flemish government looked to a world in which there would be “no more war, in a sustainable manner”, in which “tolerance and international understanding” would prevail, and which would show that it “drew lessons for the future.” It went on to say that, “what is needed is an integrated historical account that re-examines WW1 ... using a holistic approach” that entails commemorating the tragic events of 100 years ago by creating a heritage that spans from special, fixed landscapes, through moveable events, to “intangible cultural heritage.”

 

Initially, called Regeneris Youth Bonds, a full description of the idea is found in this lecture given in Brussels, 18 June 2012: 

 

 

                    From World War to World Crisis: Reflections on

                    today's financial turmoil.

How Youth Bonds
work

An idea awaiting its moment, youth bonds are seeds pending rain, then sunshine. They work in the following way:

 

Bond Issuer / Bond Holders

A bond issuer (government, municipality, private person) issues bonds to bond holders at a price and on terms determined mutually between them.

 

Young Entrepreneur

The money so borrowed is then on-lent to young people to finance their projects, provided these projects are managed in the context of a financial plan, showing their profitability expectations and pay-back possibilities (in the sketch, L = loan repayments). From these in turn derive the term of the bond and the amount payable as interest (I = interest) out of the facts of the real economy, not out of the wishes of the financial economy.

 

Collateral

The young entrepreneurs are required to take courses in financial literacy so that they know how to keep accounts, control their balance sheet and maintain positive cash flow. In positive cash flow lies financial and therefore ethical sovereignty – one’s freedom to take initiative. Their financial plan is their collateral; no collateral is taken in the form of real or other security.

 

Disaffected Youth Budget

The costs of young people who cannot find their way in life are significant. Left to their own devices, young people can be ready prey to misfortune, which then shows up as the cost of truancy, delinquency, rehabilitation, incarceration and so on. If tracked directly, these costs would amount to a Disaffected Youth Budget.

 

Better, surely, to use such money to pay the interest on bonds in the event the initiatives of young people are unable to. The Youth Bond idea is to use this unspoken Disaffected Youth Budget as a buffer, enabling time for young people to find their feet then follow wherever they might lead. For this will always have positive economic consequences, whereas the economics of funding disaffection (benefits, prison, etc.) seldom does.

 

First Movers

Any new idea needs a first mover. The question is, where, how, when and by whom will the first move be made. Who knows, maybe you know the answer to that question…

 

Comments welcome: chb@christopherhoughtonbudd.com