by Martin Struthmann

Once upon a time the fishermen on the South Pacific Islands of Tiuneva came together and discussed their plight. Their boats were old and few could go out and catch fish. Soon as their plight was known they received a substantial grant from the Foundation for Sustainable Fishing so that they could repair and improve their boats and receive training.

The local trader got to know this and soon came to help the fishermen. His skills were enourmous and soon he repaired all their boats. He was then asked to head their committee, but he said he could do this only against an income as he would need to hire someone else to run his business. He seemed so  skilled that the fishermen agreed to this. He said he would save them money and his staff would also do their bookkeeping for free in return for the income. They agreed. Who would say no to a free meal.

The trader then brought his trading partner onto the committee. They convinced the fishermen that they could not rely on fishing alone and that that they needed to enter the coconut milk industry. Tiuneva needed export earnings and the government was supporting it. The trader said he had the right government contacts, and plenty of funds were available. The trader and his partner then bought and brought in machinery and storage containers. They paid themselves handsomely for it. They said they cannot do this for free, and they had the right government contacts and government would pay for it. Sooner or later the coconut milk industry on Tiuneva would be financially sustainable and people would have jobs.

The grant was used up. The trader said that government needed some time to decide. Soon the fishing boats fell into disrepair and the Foundation for Sustainable Fishing was wondering what happened to the funds.

The trader said to his partner, it is his own fault who cannot look after his interests. After all, they looked after their interests.

Action  What is seems  What it is
Trader repairs boats Caring person Getting into the group
Trader wanting income Offset opportunity costs Getting income
Free bookkeepeing Generosity Getting control over finances
Getting partner onto committee Getting more skills onto committee One is a man, two are a crowd; getting persuasive powers onto committee; getting friend as bank account signatory on board
Developing new work areas
Expanding opportunities
Aligning work with own interests
Purchasing equipment through company of trader Cost-effcient purchases
Increasing profits of trader

Will the trader see anything wrong?

From the trader´s point of view ...

The trader will not see anything wrong.

Will the Foundation see anything wrong?

From the Foundation´s point of view ...

The Foundation will see that just about everything went wrong.


Money in an account of a non-governmental organisation is like shit that attracts flies. It attracts people who do not fit in with regular jobs, unsuccessful entrepreneurs, consultants, people who are making a living through networking and who live according to the principle of ´one hand washes the other´. Often one introduces the other.

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