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This is the set from the old TV show “Time Tunnel.”
I believe I would do good deeds by having certain improvements to existing products created in a time and place of my choosing. I would study history for people in the right fields and I would study the improvements that would have to be made.
I think it is fair to say that the way to quietly make change for the good is to have a lot of money. What was the stock market doing? What stocks would be the big winners in the coming years. I wouldn’t be travelling with a lot of currency of the time so I would need an initial way of making quick money. I would probably carry with me a quantity of gems and precious metals to sell for an initial stake. I also would need information on anything that people would be gambling on. Mainly that would be sporting events, but it could also include political races. With a small amount of seed money and a few major events to bet on, such as the Kentucky Derby, or the World Series; I could have enough to live on and to start to work on the market. If I dropped some cash on IBM or Starbucks at the right time; it would return in a big way. Both the gambling and working the stock market would have to be done carefully. The last thing that I would want to do is to be recognized as a big winner. I might even have to lose some to avoid undo attention.
Now that I had money and a control of my environment; what would I do to improve the lot of the people of the time? This is the hard part. I would not have any real past so I would have to make some up. With enough money in the proper places I could have all of the identification that I need. I would take my new identification and go to a smaller town. I would find a handful of people that were innovators and entrepreneurs. I would give them a venture and I would back them with my market profits. They would start a company to make a slightly better version of a common product of the time. I would direct these people to find the people that had the skills; and hire them for big money. I would then pass information from the company officers to the scientists and engineers that will allow them to succeed in their development. The manufacturing of the products and the company administration would be done in small towns that were in need of a boost. I would direct the officers to make sure people were paid a decent wage and to see to it that the towns prospered.
This would not necessarily change the world but if I could relieve the suffering of a few thousand people; I would consider the plan and the trip to be a complete success. Of course that would leave me extremely wealthy and in a great position to do anything I wanted to do, but hey, there has to be some profit to my actions.
You know; this sounds like the start of a good science fiction story. Don’t be surprised if this returns in story form.