Self-sustaining charity

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According to Stephane Fitch in “The Bicycle Economy: F.K. Day designed a better machine for the developing world — then set out to teach people how to make it for themselves”

“The maintenance network is self-sustaining at this point,” Day says, meaning that the mechanics can make enough money selling services and parts to buy additional components and clear a modest profit. Eventually, Day is convinced, the manufacturer he helped set up in Zambia will become profitable even without new orders from his charity, just as the one in Sri Lanka did. While Day’s charity no longer operates in Sri Lanka, its former manufacturing partner there now profitably sells the bike model Day designed–it even exports it to bike-mad markets in Northern Europe starved for cheap, high-quality single-speed bikes.

“You can have all the goodwill in the world,” Day observes, “but if what you’re doing isn’t driven by the invisible hand of Adam Smith, you’re doomed to fail.”

A great, positive meme (mind virus) is also a self-sustaining charity.

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