Robert's message, turned on its head a bit, illustrates the underlying issue quite nicely, e.g., it's phenomenally hard to come up with schemes to improve the lot of the working poor even in the US, where in theory we DO understand how our own markets work, what the regulatory climate looks like, and what infrastructure is in place to support new enterprises, micro or otherwise; why do people think it's somehow more doable to help start them half way around the world? We had an interesting example of precisely this sort of thing in our county, a few years back, when someone decided that local growers ought to get into the bulb-growing business (I kid you not), and that these bulbs would be locally promoted, under the starry-eyed assumption that locals would naturally be happy to pay 50% more for local produce. The growers set about producing a few bulbs for which an obvious market was thought to exist: a few tulips, a few daffodils, grape hyacinths. Whose bright idea this was, I do not know, but as anyone might imagine these bulbs turned out to be expensive to produce (NY state has no comparative advantage in this, as we are notoriously cloudy) and of poor quality, and the project collapsed. A somewhat longer-lived effort involved establishment of a local cranberry-growing cooperative, about the time the Chileans were cranking up cranberry production and flooding the market. Demand for cranberries is not notably price-elastic, i.e. if the price falls 50% you do not tend to increase your quantity purchased by over 50%. The cranberry operation failed. I could go on and on (I was an economics professor for 13 years, and I got my Ph.D in agricultural economics (international trade and development) at Cornell), but I will spare everyone that particular torture. My points are only that there are probably relatively few unexploited opportunities in any market, and that entering on a small scale a market where there are already large, efficient producers is suicidal. Add to that impressive regulatory difficulties, phytosanitary issue, storage issue, transportation issues, language barriers, and any number of other things, and the whole project becomes murkier still. I've lived in a depressed region for roughly 34 years, and I can assure you that the only successful startups have been private efforts, and that so far none of the many efforts to jawbone, to channel state monies, to grant property tax relief, etc., have created economic growth nor stopped the outflow of human capital. Economic development only looks easy when it's half a world away. In your own backyard, it looks nearly impossible. Ellen Ellen Hornig Seneca Hill Perennials Oswego NY USA Original Message: ----------------- From: rdjenkins firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 16:54:01 -0500 To: email@example.com Subject: Re: [pbs] Bulbs for microcredit business - reinventing the wheel ----- Original Message ----- From: "James Waddick" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <email@example.com> Sent: Sunday, December 03, 2006 3:21 PM Subject: Re: [pbs] Bulbs for microcredit business - reinventing the wheel > Additionally there are numerous commercial wholesale > nurseries that export to the west. There are a variety of research > institutes and universities devoted to these topics. Granted these > may not be accessible to the poorest and most isolated people. Maybe that is what Joe is getting at......those people who are "out of the loop". Joe? >.... but India is far from the 'start > up' situation you suggest. And yet there are many people looking for their start-up in this already started-up industry. How might Joe's efforts help them? > Hate to burst a bubble here, but this is not really realistic > at this stage. Anything more you have to offer to help make this more realistic would be of benefit! I am dirt-poor myself here in the USA and would also benefit more specific input over a general "not realistic" pronouncement. I don't mean to be insulting, but if I am being "unrealistic" due to the lack of understanding or adequete information, please, fill me in in. You seem to have a better prespective than I have. Do you have a better long-range plan for India or for those of us in the US who might be looking for a productive means of earning an income? Robert. _______________________________________________ pbs mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/list.php -------------------------------------------------------------------- mail2web - Check your email from the web at http://mail2web.com/ .