Comments for Ancient Venture Capital
Ancient Venture Capital: 01/28/05
Last night I watched episode two of a three part PBS series called Secrets of the Pharaohs. This episode covered the recent discovery of the city at the base of the pyramids of Giza. Archeologists have found evidence of a complex, thriving city that was there for the fifty years it took to complete the three pyramids (twenty for Kufu and Kafre's and ten or so for Menkare's). As I was watching, the narrator kept asking, "why did Egyptians travel all this way for such hard labor" and the answer was clear to me: money, a consistant job, and a place in history.
The city near the pyramids reminds me of a mixture of the massive public works projects under FDR during the close of the Depression and the dot-com frenzy that hit the Bay Area in the late 1990s. The pyramids were a state sponsored project but the sorts of benefits and the size of the city that they built for the workers inspired around 20,000 workers per pyramid and their families to move to Giza.
A company with 20,000 employees is a HUGE operation, even by today's standards. To put things in perspective, the old World Trade Center complex had roughly 50,000 employees. While the rebuilding of the towers won't need the same number of employees thanks to modern technology, I'm sure that the rebuilding process will create a similar local boost in the New York City economy. I also won't be surprised if the project draws workers from around the country workers who will cite patriotism, pride, and perhaps a well needed job. So, are the pyramids of Giza any different?