Ron Steen, “a really good guy” with “a dynamic personality” and “no drug or alcohol problems” (and a car that “is completely paid off”), is breaking new ground in the derivatives market by packaging himself as a financial instrument and selling himself at eBay. For $100,000, you get 2% of Ron’s total earnings throughout his lifetime. (He’ll use the money to pay for college.) Judging from his eBay writeup, Ron has a firm grasp of neither net present value nor the possibility of premature death, but he’s only a high school kid, and he clearly has gumption. His big mistake, though, is setting a fixed price rather than allowing an auction. If a liquid market for trading shares of an individual’s future earnings was established, that would be pretty interesting. I mean, if the young could cash in on their adult potential while they were still young, then maybe youth wouldn’t be wasted on them anymore. At the very least, they could dramatically improve the quality of their drug and alcohol problems.
UPDATE: Steen has been booted off eBay.