I had blogged earlier about Brazilian corporate groups Traffic and Grupo Sonda who have been identifying and buying contracts to promising upcoming footballers. These players are then trained, loaned to local clubs and then, if found very good, sold on transfer to big clubs for massive transfer fees.
In a similar vein, Freakonomics draws attention to a recent play, Monetizing Emma, which paints a future where Wall Street traders invest in smart schoolkids in return for a substantial share of their future earnings. The play depicts a boutique investment bank, Thackeray Walsh, which in 2013 is issuing bonds backed by an A-list pool of adolescents pledging a share of their future earnings in return for money now.
In the same context, the post also points to a proposal to link up teacher's pay to their students’ future earnings, turning the students into "investments" - "What if teachers were paid based on the future income their students make. For example, student A grows up to make 100k a year. We look at the records and find the 20 teachers that taught student A and compensate them based on that. Compensation could be based on number of months spent with student."