Here's an idea about how data scientists could make a living as a self-employed entrepreneur:
Use an official index that measures what it costs, on average (per year), to attend University in US. Create a company that will sell shares on a private market, related to this index. When people are very confident in the value of a University degree, this index should go up. And conversely.
Manage this business as follows:
- Holding period: anyone who purchases "shares" must hold them for 6 months before selling
- Offer an 8% yearly return MAXIMUM (not guaranteed), with MINIMUM = you lose the principal. Just like the stock market.
- Pay people who withdraw money using money from newcomers (this is what makes it a Ponzi scheme)
- To avoid false advertising lawsuits, clearly state that return could be much lower than 8%, or that you could lose everything
- Use an OFFICIAL "University cost" index to build trust
- Tell each potential investor that this is a Ponzi scheme to avoid lawsuits
- Tell each potential investor that only smart or lucky people will win, all others will lose some or all of their invested money
- Don't benefit from this business, except by charging a small fee when people sell
Is this Ponzi scheme worst than:
- Social security that use younger generations to pay retirement benefits to older generations?
- Stock market that exploded in 2000, and again in 2008?
- 401 and other retirement plans?
- Human population artificially inflated growth?
- Bubble related to education costs?
- Bubble related to healthcare costs?
Unlike most Ponzi schemes, this one has no criminal intent, since all participants are immediately told that they are investing in a Ponzi scheme. Also, there are mechanisms in place (low guaranteed return, holding period) that will make it stable for many many years (like social security) before it blows up.
What do you think? And what are the optimal parameter values to make this scheme lasts as long as possible?