If you ever wanted to see what a collapse of a developed country looks like then one has to look no further than Greece. The beautiful ancient nation is on the cusp of bankruptcy, it’s on the verge of running out of essential food and medicine and its political system is in disarray.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced earlier this week it would default to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In total, the country owes the IMF about $20 billion in addition to other creditors. It’s insufficient to say Greece is in a terrible predicament.
One person is taking an unconventional approach to saving Greece, and is utilizing the power of technology. Thom Feeney, a 29-year-old London shoe shop worker, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to start a bailout fund for the ailing European nation. The bailout fund’s objective is to raise just under $2 billion. At the time of this writing, the campaign has only been able to generate less than $2 million in funds, contributed by close to 100,000 people. Unfortunately, it looks as if the campaign won’t be able to raise the money because it has a due date of July 7.
"All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people or not. Why don’t we the people just sort it instead?" Feeney wrote on the campaign page. "The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy."
Those who have donated thus far will likely receive a refund.
But if one person has started a crowdfunding initiative for a country then what other ridiculous crowdfunding campaigns have been established in recent years? Here are five of the most dubious crowdfunding endeavors ever created (some were huge successes):
1. Fund my Potato Salad
In order to make potato salad, you head to your local grocery store buy a couple of potatoes, a jar of mayonnaise, yellow mustard and seasoning. This should cost you less than $10. Rather than using his own money, Zack Brown launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10 to make a potato salad. What would you get in return? He would yell out your name during the process and receive a potato salad-themed haiku. What was the result? Brown garnered more than $55,000, most of which were donated to charity.
2. Fund my Burrito Munchie
Did you ever have the feeling of chomping on a burrito? Well, design student Noboru Bitoy wanted a Chipotle burrito, but he sought the Internet community for help to pay for it. Bitoy started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $8 in exchange for graphing the food’s "deliciousness." Since he raised 13,000 percent of the funds, he decided to launch other burrito eating endeavors, including what it’s like eating a burrito while skydiving.
3. Fund my Grilled Cheesus
Over the years, there have been numerous stories of people worldwide imagining they have seen Jesus Christ in the sky, in their cereal and on walls. Two inventors don’t want you to wait for these miracles to happen. Instead, they want you to make your miracle by purchasing the Grilled Cheesus. That’s right. Rob Corso and Meg Sheehan raised more than $25,000 to produce the almighty Grilled Cheesus that works the same way as the George Foreman Grill. Each time you have a grilled cheese sandwich, you’ll think of Jesus. Praise the lord!
4. Fund my Emoji Dick
If it isn’t bad enough that there are publishers translating William Shakespeare plays into emojis, one person decided to translate the entire text of Herman Melville’s classic "Moby Dick" into an emoji-filled book. Fred Beneson asked for $3,500 to translate nearly 6,500 sentences into Japanese emojis.
By doing this, Beneson would "confront a lot of our shared anxieties about the future of human expression by forcing a great work of literature through such a strange new filter." He was successful as he exceeded his campaign goal.
5. Fund my Unknown Feature Film
Many filmmakers, both prominent and amateurs, have used crowdfunding platforms to generate funds to shoot their own feature films. Spike Lee gained a lot of criticism because the multi-million-dollar award-winning director used crowdfunding to fund his next project. One filmmaker decided to follow suit, but what makes this interesting is the fact we know nearly nothing of his project.
The crowdfunding organizer provided a generic summary of the story: "This feature film is a story about a promising athlete who has to deal with personal tragedy, a natural disaster — causing physical injury as well as subsequent psychological disorders such as Dissociative Identity & Delusional disorders. This is a story about how drastically this athlete’s life changes and the challenges he must face."
After this, we don’t know anything else that a financial supporter would want, such as the filmmaker’s name, some sort of trailer, shooting information and so on. It bombed as the campaign only generated $28!
Despite the immense success of the crowdfunding industry, a lot of people have become wary of these funding efforts. In fact, it has been likened to "cyber begging" as many individuals have used Kickstarter or Indiegogo to fund their extravagant weddings, honeymoons and even bathroom renovations. Some have succeeded, many have failed. But it seems the most ridiculous of ideas have generated the most amount of funds.