MAKING MONEY WHEN THE RICH GO TO JAIL
My son Mark really wants to make money, lots and lots of money. He’s only 18, but boy does he have ideas! Ever since he was 15 and he was told kids with ADD (like him) more often become entrepreneurs he’s dreamed of becoming one. At first he thought he’d work in sports management (he loves basketball and video games) but now when he hears about all the crimes committed by powerful, influential people, he thinks he can make more teaching them how to navigate jail and prison! Because rich people don’t tend to know about places like that, and figure they’ll get fleeced, rolled and blackmailed.
He’ll have help. His uncle Eddy is a convicted felon for armed robbery, and cousin Nick is an accomplished financier who’s served four months for securities fraud, so Mark figures he’s already got experts he can go to. He wants to call it “Social Navigation Network”, and he’s already talking about the IPO.
Is this crazy, or should I encourage him?
Puzzled in Plattsburgh
Dear concerned mother,
We do think your son has the pulse on major social changes. As America moves towards the Russian model of politics and business being the same, corruption has been a fabulous growth industry, with many highly placed individuals joining in on the fun. In a nation where the issue is not morals or wrongdoing or even “is this illegal?” but rather, “if I’m caught is there much of a penalty,” it’s natural that movie stars will bribe test takers to get their kids in better schools, even if it’s the University of Southern California. Political-financial corruption is especially dynamic.
But just because someone is corrupt and caught red handed does not mean they go to jail – or are even indicted. In recent days presidents and Supreme Court Justices have been actively accused of rape, for the rich and powerful remain influential. Neither Richard Nixon nor Jacques Chirac served jail time, and even after being jailed important felons return to lucrative careers. So we would suggest your son consider a subscription model, with a low monthly fee that rich folk can pay in case they need advice when they do make it to prison. Have it marketed as an affordable luxury, a small insurance policy. More expensive navigation services can be set in a tiered model for those most worried.
Recognize, however, there will be major competition. People like Michael Cohen, now “mayor” of his federal prison, and Sol Wachtler, once judge on the highest court in New York and later a convicted felon, are credible and knowledgeable experts.
However, there may be different opportunities. Navigation services could be provided for people moving to different cities. For examples, “new” New Yorkers could be taught basic survival strategies like never make eye contact on the street and rarely, rarely talk to strangers. New citizens of Los Angeles could be taught how to never leave their cars, and in which neighborhoods Rolexes and Phillipe Patek watches are most coveted. Such a socially progressive business could easily go global, with “how to navigate Beijing or Singapore,” including specializations on how to deal with politics, sex, technology surveillance and business tactics. Such social navigation services might possess major appeal, though demanding local interpretation.
As the magic French words “excusez-moi pour vous deranger” unlock untold doors, social navigation services might even help make Earth a more palatable location.