Here is a remarkable success story in economic development! A former student, Matt Landau, had wanderlust and ended up working in Costa Rica and Panama. Eventually he bought and fixed up a gorgeous boutique hotel in Old colonial Panama City, a quaint and charming section of town that caters to foreign tourists seeking ambiance.
Only problem was the rival gangs that preyed on tourists.
Enter the incentives of the market. Matt and a colleague, thinking outside the box, started the Esperanza Social Venture Club to train gang members to get started in legal businesses. Former gang members now lead walking tours of the neighborhood and run a restaurant that caters to tourists.
The money is good and provides an incentive for gang members to thwart acts of crime that would lower their profits!
Congrats to Matt and colleagues for this amazing transformation, as shown here.