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Brett Mangel

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Can a volunteer-based-system ease our governments burden of providing social welfare?

Here's an abridged quote from Robert Kennedy to begin:

"Our gross national product ... counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage... It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets.

"Yet [it] does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials... it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile."

The goal of an economy is to make sure everyone is productive and receives the goods they need. Suppose the role of money is purely to verify that those we are providing goods for have done their productive duty, proven by the $X they have to spend on your goods. Then why can't we develop an additional system of verifying that someone has been productive in their actions?

By adopting a volunteer based service that delivers basic social goods, can we verify that people are being productive and give them basic services in return? Thus helping eliminate poverty, hunger and homelessness in exchange for volunteering for the social good and easing the stress on our nearly bankrupt governments. By having volunteers run local farmers markets and community feeds, help in hospitals, or mentor children we could do a lot of good.
Our world seems to be shifting towards one of abundance; if we only need 2% of our workers to grow food, we should be able to easily feed us all if we all chip in

As doing good becomes a habit, one expected by all our neighbors, kindness would ideally become a way of life, and our children would grow up this way.

I'll end with another Rob Kennedy quote as it seems fitting:
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this wor

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  • Sep 22 2012: A society where every citizen is productive is desirable.
    But such a thing would not happen without extreme measures that would erode the values of freedom and human rights.
    Freedom of choice means there are things to choose from; and there may be some of those things that are undesirable, ugly and harmful. One can choose to be lazy, one can choose to be greedy, one can decide to sustain productivity by unethical means, one can decide to be selfish, one can decide to be ruthless in the treatment of workers.

    The free market system has its failings; just like any other system that may seem perfect on paper.
    Volunteers services should be from willing, caring, concerned and sincere individuals. The good news is that some people are already commited to this; and more of it is desirable, and will be appreciated.
    A worker deserves to be paid; and there are roles for volunteers.
    But no human system will end poverty. Like murders, wars, adultery, earthquakes, greed, disease and other numerous evils in the world, poverty can only be reduced, not eliminated.
    • Sep 23 2012: Of course I am not promoting a mandate, I am greatly a fan of choice; and not necessarily every citizen, simply those with an interest in helping others through a small, yet non-trivial benefit that may incentivize one to give time to formally help in their neighborhood. I do not see how helping those who serve others, (perhaps even with something so simple as a military discount to thank those who serve at home) would eliminate freedom of choice. Every good idea can be taken to an extreme too far and without careful concerns the idea could easily go as far an Ayn Rand type of dystopia

      I also don't think I am convinced of your belief that we can never end poverty, although even if that were fact, that doesn't mean more can't be done. We've practically eliminated illiteracy, polio, smallpox, and slavery in recent centuries in the western world.

      Why not democratize food & potable water too?
      Or housing?
      Or education? (which may change drastically in the somewhat near future)

      Poverty is just the status of not having the basic needs required to support oneself, right? But someone in poverty in America is in much better shape than someone in poverty in a third word nation, so the very state of poverty can at least be improved.

      I wonder if our idea of work can change from purely being for wealth accumulation to 90% wealth accumulation/10% good deeds. Shoot make it 5%. Or 1%, even something as small as that on a large scale would get a large amount of good done for our neighborhoods and get people away from their computer and into the community. I think by simply interacting with others with an intention to help would spur more of that as it becomes the general attitude of the community members and spur a genuine desire to care for others.

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