John Moonstroller


This conversation is closed.

Is Citizen volunteerism necessary to pull the US out of it's financial hole?

We are in a rut in the USA. Everybody can see this clearly. The discussions concerning the distribution of money to maintain our services have revealed we may not have enough to do the job without further going into debt. Obviously just paying our taxes is not enough to solve our national problems.

Could citizen voluntarism be the kicker that gets the ball over the goal post? Is it possible to make Citizen voluntarism mandatory, say 100 hours per year or military service, to get the right to vote in elections?

  • Jan 13 2013: No, it wouldn't.

    However, we have many projects and programs that could benefit from people working with them. The National and State parks need trail work. Schools need tutors and helpers. Programs need helpers for basic skill jobs. And the US has a large number of people not working. Linking the welfare checks to some sort of work, preferably a job skills based program, would definitely provide some opportunities to get people back on the right track and serve the community as well.

    I am an advocate for "if you can work you should be". Many people who are on welfare, want to work, allow them to and supplement their welfare with finances and job training so they can get back on their feet. Those who don't want to work, should not receive the same benefits, or even limit the benefits.

    I know this is not quite volunteerism, but it does link to it.
    • thumb
      Jan 13 2013: @ Everett Hill, (If there is nothing in your profile to indicate gender I use the @ symbol)

      " Linking the welfare checks to some sort of work, preferably a job skills based program, would definitely provide some opportunities to get people back on the right track and serve the community as well." ~ Everett Hill.

      This would work if we were a socialist society instead of a capitalist one. Otherwise we are dividing the population into separate social classes of citizenship. Those in the welfare system would be dependent on those at the top to create jobs that would allow them to move out of the system. If those at the top found the working welfare system to be profitable, why would they want to change it?

      Actually, this "is" or current system, with the welfare check being variable in amount.

      In the negative sense, you are forming a union of welfare workers who could become politically active and powerful, leading to an uprising of workers which could usher in a system of socialism or communism -food for thought. In the darker reaches of my mind I think this is why many politicians propose then withdraw such legislation.

      You know, we could also link the congressional welfare checks to how productive they are in congress. That, I'm sure would have a great effect on how fast societies problems get solved.

      Based on this concept; how much of their salary would each congressperson and the president, be paid for the last 20 years?

      Of course, if we create a nation wide system of volunteers, we could also be laying the groundwork for a socialist system too. There are only two sides of capitalism, those who gather the profits and those who receive dispensation for their labors. In the middle is the government which provides regulatory functions and infrastructure
      • Jan 14 2013: John, I don't see us creating a socialist type system to resolve this issue. Perhaps more along the lines of the CCC which worked on public works projects during the great depression.

        Volunteering is a truly wonderful thing, but mandating it creates a whole new set of issues. However, we do have a large group of individuals who currently are unemployed, receive a check from the government, and would probably like to work. Rather than just handing over a check, because it is better to receive welfare checks than work minimum wage jobs based on benefits alone, ask for those who want to work to work. Then provide opportunities whereby they will receive job skills and training to improve their employment in life.

        Not everyone would be willing to do it, but enough would that our country would benefit from their efforts. Also, increasing job skills, productivity, and self-esteem would put more people in a position to be employable.

        I don't see us creating a "worker" class, though it would be an issue. There have been recommendations to do just this thing with welfare in the past. It would create incentive to work though, if you were training people and they could get hired into a better paying job, then you would see more money flowing into the system in a positive way. We all ready have what, around 10% of our population (guesstimate) on some sort of public assistance? Let's give them a better way out of that system.

        I guess I see it as difficult to get people to volunteer on a "required" basis and easier to get those who need work or want work to do it based on what we are all ready providing.

        As for Congress, well, my momma always told me if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.

        I don't know what a good scenario is for this issue. I am a proponent of supporting what we have rather than forcing something new on people.

        The "socialist" issue is one that I don't have an answer for.
        • thumb
          Jan 14 2013: Many of those receiving those checks are former middle class people Everett. In fact, the bulk of them. If they were mere labor class people, they would not have the political clout to make the continuation of those check an issue with the last elections.

          After the checks are gone we will have to help those people and that's my point. When it's just the poor, it is easy to ignore their plight, putting aside our humanism. But when it's people who can think, organize and join together in force, we have a different animal to deal with. It these people are not taken care of they will put pressure on the system to change, somehow, to create jobs, if that is even possible anymore, to put them to work.

          In the mean time, they do react well to volunteer help. Those are the ones I repair most of the computers for and offer gas money from time to time. They earnestly want a job.

          We have to change as the demands of the world change. Things can't remain the same, they never have.

          I'm Leary of the Socialist issue myself. They do have an active agenda and are seriously organized in many countries and globally.
      • Jan 14 2013: John, sorry, weird reply system only allows me to reply here.

        I realize that many of those receiving assistance are former middle class people who are now getting help. I also know, from speaking with several in that position, that they want to work but they don't have the skill set or a place to be employed with their skills. I am suggesting that, those who want to improve their lot and work, be supported in doing so. Take their skills, use them, and add to their skill sets with training so that they can get back into the workforce at a middle level of income if possible.

        There are also those who just want to milk the system and not work, because they get more financially by not working and receiving checks than by working minimum wage or low wage jobs.

        I see a potential opportunity to encourage folks to work, do a valuable service with their skill set, add skills, and get out of the cycle they are in. Only because they are all ready in need of new skills we are providing for them. The fewer people receiving assistance, the less that goes out to support individuals. Essentially, break the cycle that these folks are in so that they get back into society and contribute positively rather than where they are.

        I am all for volunteering and supporting it. And many people do great things. I just see a large portion of those on public assistance who could get off by providing job skills, through public works and other training programs, that would be a positive, long - term solution. If people are improving their position, they are happy and contributing. I don't forsee it turning into a socialist issue unless we worked to keep people down, which is not what I am suggesting.

        Good thoughts to wrestle with.
        • thumb
          Jan 14 2013: " I am suggesting that, those who want to improve their lot and work, be supported in doing so. Take their skills, use them, and add to their skill sets with training so that they can get back into the workforce at a middle level of income if possible." ~ Everett Hill

          Yes, this would be good for them. However, the skill sets that are no longer needed extend to surrounding areas of similar function. It will reach out to those areas also, increasing those who need new skill sets.

          I think it's a good starting point in these types of discussion to elaborate on the meaning of skill sets and how they can be morphed to pursue other profitable jobs. My favorite example is project engineering analysis, which used to comprise a huge set of people and can now be done almost exclusively by handful and some computers. These people have no transferable skill set towards manufacturing because the same jobs are being replaced by computers there as well.

          Sadly, the skill sets that are needed are engineering, technical, Medical and scientific. Almost every office function can be done by a computer these days. These are all high education jobs and are heavily pursued by people educated in India, Europe, and Russia. They are the replacements for the lack of skill sets in the USA.

          In my opinion, we are stuck with these none-working people for many decades to come, especially if they are over the age of 40. Under that age it is possible to learn a new, highly technical skill set, if one is amenable to learning math, science and technology. If they didn't like these subjects the first time around and opted for a business or management education instead, they will probably like it even less on this go.

          A really good example of jobs being done away with are in the publishing industry which supports a huge (or used to) amount of people. E-readers are more popular along with a paperless office. The paper industry is suffering and looking for a better way.

          Jobs are drying up.
        • thumb
          Jan 14 2013: Everett, you are welcome to email me and discuss issues like this anytime you like Or through teds email system.
      • thumb
        Jan 15 2013: John, I believe that people can retrain successfully in their forties. I work with many who are enjoying math and taking it more seriously this time around!

        The community colleges are a great retraining resource with financial aid available.

        I have gotten confused about the link, though, between the retraining and the volunteer program. Assisting with an elderly dependent with Alzheimers or volunteering as a tutor at school gives the time meaning and the volunteer satisfaction, but these sorts of opportunities will not offer skills applicable to reentry.

        The public service employment/non-market employment programs in the last fifty years have tended not to focus on using skills that are in increasing demand today in unsubsidized settings. Construction and infrastructure projects offer skill building and useful work but not, I think, skills that are promising pathways into new employment for laid off middle aged people. Arts sorts of projects or positions that expand the reach of non-profit agencies also are unlikely to offer more than a very few a pathway into unsubsidized employment.

        Businesses and enterprises that want to train people in technical fields with upcoming private sector demand do do this sometimes via internships, which are volunteer. But they would naturally want to pick the sorts of candidates they find most promising, which would not typically be, I think, the cohort of hard-to-reemploy forty or fifty-somethings.
  • thumb
    Jan 12 2013: Here for those interested in the role and potential of volunteerism in America are some statistics compiled by the Census Bureau for the period September 2010-2011. For starters, you will find that 64.3 million people, or 26.8% of the population volunteered during that time. That includes about 30% of women and 42.4% of college grads.

    Around this link one can see breakdowns of how much people volunteered and the kind of service they did.

    These figures will under-represent volunteerism in a number of ways. One area is the extra hours people put in in the workplace without compensation. Another is the sort of volunteerism most people would not think to report in that way, such as helping neighbors, driving carpool, and so forth.

    Some volunteerism surely does reduce the number of people employed and in other cases augments services.

    When the economy is weak, getting a volunteer job with an organization can be as competitive as getting a paying job, since volunteerting is so popular. Those with training in skills that would be expensive for an organization to procure, like legal, financial, or computer skills, have an easier time finding opportunities than those with more general skills, other than activities like tree planting, trail or grounds maintenance, and events assistance. Another area where there are always opportunities is fundraising for nonprofit organizations.

    To get a sense on the sorts of opportunities available in any community, VolunteerMatch is a good resource.

    I mention opportunities because a requirement of service should take into account the different sorts of opportunities that will be available to different people.
  • thumb
    Jan 17 2013: John, Long time since our last talk. At some point we must evaluate "entitlements". As you know I subscribe to the hand up NOT the hand out theory. If the government provides me with aide that equates to $60,000 a year and you offer me a job at $15 per hour ($32,200 a year) please tell me what is my incentive to go to work.

    I stronly support volunteerism. However, I have worked with some (including schools) that treat their volunteers very badly.

    I look at the agencies that provide emergency aide, such as the Red Cross, etc ... and the pay to their execs and operations costs and the bottom line of what goes out to the needy and they depend on volunteers.

    I support you intentions and good faith ... however I think that we need to futher investigate the way that volunteers could be more productive prior to committing to their use. To depend on volunteers while the CEO make 1.5 million a year not including perks really ticks me off.

    Nice to hear from you. Bob.
    • thumb
      Jan 18 2013: Hey Robert.... Good to hear from you. I agree with just about everything you said, so we are still on the same page, at least of this issue.

      My assertions are that we need to think with a volunteerism mindset because the time is coming when it will be the method of delivering most goods and services to the needy. The needy, of course, could include both of us, especially if thing that are unsettling to you continue to grow in size and proportion (they unsettle me also).

      Hand out does not work, unless we are repairing damage in some kind of disaster, the hurricane damage for instance. "Too Big to Fail' is not my idea of an acceptable handout.

      The problem with CEO pay and perks is we don't appear to have any leverage in that arena. So, we should go our own way, so to speak. If things move in the direction I predict they will (financially in the US and most modern manufacturing countries), increasing technology becoming cheaper and easier to produce, we may run out of ways to make big profits. This, of course, will force us to find ways to cheapen other commodities as competition for drying markets increases, but in the opposite direction.

      History has taught us the only way to turn this monster around is through the mechanisms of war. In my opinion, we are seeing the way Europe has chosen with France invading northern Africa and the European Union coming on board (with the US in a secretive manner).

      I seriously believe that most of modern Asia, Russia and some secular minded Middle Eastern countries, are going to get involved with cutting the head off the Islamic tiger, so to speak. So, while they strip some of money and increase the wealth of others, we may have to help each other out to make ends meet.

      Trying to find help for my crippled parents and ourselves being crippled, has shown me the state of Georgia and the Federal government have already cut back on Medicare and other health services. We are desperate with no solutions in sight.
  • thumb
    Jan 13 2013: This is an addendum to some of my remarks, concerning wealthy people, the great 1% region of our population who own 35.4% (over 1/3) of all privately held wealth. I use this page as my source of information (for a long time). This page has been challenged, updated and maintained for a long time. I trust it's presentation of the data.

    I need to clarify this statements concerning wealthy people better: Most wealthy people, like actors, use managers to help them navigate through the maze of money making opportunities. In the end these managers become powerful influences on the wealthy. When you take away from the time to make money, you have little time left for social interaction (like volunteering), which is non-productive towards creating opportunities for profit.

    On the other hand, there are many wealthy people who see volunteerism as a means to change the society in which they live, for the sole purpose of enlarging their sense of self worth and sense of rightness. These people manage themselves. They are leaders at the top; they are few.

    But, with such people in the system, it still begs the question, why is their so much despondency in the lower regions of our society? Why is this region of our population so large? Why are these people begging for help and still not receiving it?

    There is the way we want it to be, and the way it is. Eyes should be on the way it is.

    If your life has always been comfortable, spend two days at a very active emergency room and look at the people there. On the first day, do not interface with them just look. On the second day, try to engage them in conversation. Dress very casual and try to blend in. It's an extraordinary learning experience and it cost nothing. It will change your outlook on life and society. If safety is a concern, go to a VA hospital (very safe).
    • thumb
      Jan 14 2013: I agree with you, John, that in terms of understanding who is hurting, "eyes should be on the way it is," on what we can determine by serious observation and consideration of available facts rather than on what we only assume to be true.

      Working to understand causes and levers for change is another part of problem-solving.
      • thumb
        Jan 14 2013: Is there a central website where this data is centered, open source available and active that you know of Fritzie?

        I don't trust Census data Fritzie. I't like most data complied by the government is terrible skewed. There are two sets of data, one for those who manage the population and one to keep the population thinking they are part of the solution.

        I've been programming since 1978. I kinda know what they have and what they do with it.

        I was wondering if you knew of a website where they are creating their own statistics other than the WHO website. One that can be trusted.
        Do you have an email address? Mine is
        • thumb
          Jan 14 2013: Which data? The census is probably the most reliable source of data pertinent to poverty in the United States, if that is what you are asking. Federal census stats are always public.
    • thumb
      Jan 14 2013: I will give a quick answer as I doubt you will hear what I'm saying.

      For starters the facts are skewed. Public transfers do not show up in the statistics, this is not a small thing.

      The government pays people to be "victims", though welfare unemployment, etc, etc. Why are there the despondent? because in no small part because the government pays them to be despondent

      There always has been and always will be in equality. So what. The standard of living is raised by the rich guys which allows for example homeless people to have cell phones, more food to eat, etc, etc

      Take away the incentive for rich guys to raise the standard of living and you will lower the standard of living of the poor who really aren't poor.
      • thumb
        Jan 14 2013: You make a very good point Pat, just in the wrong Question area. I suggest you start a question area of your own, related to these ideas. Your ideas are good and I, for one would like to publicly discuss these issues with you.
  • thumb
    Jan 13 2013: No
    • thumb
      Jan 13 2013: Mr. Gilbert, it's good to see you again.

      Has anyone ever told you that you are excessively wordy in your responses? :)
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2013: I learned this from Krisztian, verbiage is not heard anyway, at leas the kind I espouse to. On the other hand they listen intently to Jonathan Haidt go figure. I put up the following video as a conversation and the moderator said meh this is not the "proper venue" for such. But some how Jonathan Haidt is? go figure. These kind of rebuffs make me weary of posting on TED. I see no point in having a kubyya agreement fest.

        We will see how long this link lasts? Terrific talk made by a NY Jew:
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: In the beginning he leads you to believe he is painting a picture of Republicans as being evil corrupt people then it become clear he is actually talking about Liberals (note capital L).

          He paints Liberals (Hollywood liberals), as extremely manipulative people who strive hard to change the society around them towards a more Utopian environment, by putting our evil nature on a pedestal for all to see, We strive to strip away our clothing, forcing us to appear naked in society. He implies that Liberals do this because the only way to see the truth is deluge ourselves with the naked truth of how we really behave --that is, our clothing is the tapestry that hides the true nature of the evil that lurks underneath. Further, without changing that nature, we are doomed as a society. By concealing our true nature, we make the road towards progressive, social, evolution longer, perhaps unreachable.

          I found it funny that he calls Democrats who have standards "Republicans" :)

          His definition of rational thought leaves a lot to be desired. It is mind twisting.

          In summery I'd have to say his entire speech was more poetic than fact filled, more gibberish than revealing.

          His speech is mind twisting and I would not recommend it to anyone. I hope you have not viewed it more than once because your exposition indicates you have some problems with communication I have not seen in the past.

          Also, it bears little resemblance to the topic of our conversation, unless you are somehow trying to implicate that liberals are not interested in volunteerism or republicans are not interested. It's had to tell the difference.

          I found Jonathan to be extremely boring, a political brow beater who supports one political ideology, (liberalism) over Conservatism What both have in common is the other side is all bad and their side is good. His supposition that all tedsters are liberal I found laughable. I find most tedsters to be open-minded and engaging towards hunting the truth, different.
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2013: John

        Thank you for taking the time to watch the video.

        The point he is making is that the meme that has permeated liberal thinking is to not to show the slightest bit of discrimination. And that if you evaluate or weigh the value of something that is in of itself is discrimination. The problem is that any sort of rational thought requires making some things more important than others. And I think he is exactly right. Remember this comes from an individual who comes from a group who is known for being as liberal as they come.

        Something Jonathan is the epitome of and is quite self righteous in the process.

        How does this apply to your conversation? Because the reason that I'm terse is because of the narrow mildness of the TED moderators make me not want to communicate on TED.

        And because if the free market were allowed to do what it is always does which IS encourage and reward people to make the standard of living better. What needs to be done is to allow people to do what they naturally do.

        This video speaks to this point as well
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: Interesting Pat. And how is this relevant to the topic? How is liberalism and Conservatism connected with Volunteering?
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2013: The core of liberalism is what can the country do for me, the country should do this or that, I cannot do for myself I have to have it done for me.

        Conservatism is about give me freedom. The reality is that this viewpoint creates infinity more volunteering or walking the walk, not talking the talk.

        Or perhaps I should just go with my original answer?
        • Jan 14 2013: Isn't a welfare state the very embodiement of "volunteering" by the majority of its citizens? When you vote for a welfare state you volunteer to sign a contract that makes you donate a lot of money, even when times are rough, you can't decide how much you want to donate and when like you can under minarchism. It's like making a bet that you have to pay $1 million if you don't keep your new year's resolution, that's a lot of commitment.
  • Jan 12 2013: "Is Citizen volunteerism necessary to pull the US out of it's financial hole?"

    Yes, if the richest 1% of the American population volunteered to do something other than raise their own pay and lower their taxes that would help enormously.
    • thumb
      Jan 12 2013: There is a great deal of volunteerism among the wealthy. For a start, one could probably uncover easily the number of hours of volunteering by Microsoft or Google employees, and I would guess it is huge. I just checked for Microsoft. Two million hours since 2005. Service by professional employees is so valued and so much a part of the culture.

      Here is a link that shows volunteerism by income level in 2005. Unsurprisingly to me, those with household incomes above $100,000 volunteer the most. I find this unsurprising, as those who have flexibility in the use of their time because of their particular work or their retirement can be expected to be well-represented in volunteer service.
      • Jan 13 2013: "There is a great deal of volunteerism among the wealthy. For a start, one could probably uncover easily the number of hours of volunteering by Microsoft or Google employees,"

        Since when are they part of the 1%?

        "Here is a link that shows volunteerism by income level in 2005. Unsurprisingly to me, those with household incomes above $100,000 volunteer the most."

        Showing up at a soup kitchen once a year or gathering money for universities (whose profits go back to their pockets) doesn't even begin to address the systemic problems caused by having a third world gini coefficient value.

        @ Fritzie Reisner

        The cut-off lies at about $400k per year, that's quite a bit above the salary of a programmer.

        I did not say the 1% volunteer less, I said their volunteering doesn't make up for the damage the high degree of income inequality does. If you give yourself a $200k pay raise at the expense of your lower middle class employees then volunteer work worth $10k isn't gonna do much to fix the problems you've caused to your employees and others like them.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: I don't know where the 1% cut-off is. [Just checked- in 2009 $343,000]. The median salary for Microsoft employees is about $90,000 per year, which by most measures would be considered financially very well off, though as you say, not in the top 1%.

          The total volunteer hours for Microsoft employees in the US since 2005 was two million. This was likely not showing up at a soup kitchen once a year. I doubt fundraising for universities is a large component either.

          People love being of service in their communities, I think.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: Would you happen to have any data, John, to support your assumption that those in the top 1% volunteer less than those in other income brackets? I have been unable to find those data, despite my searching for it. The data I have found stops at income of $100,000 and up, which has the highest proportion of people volunteering among income categories.

        • thumb
          Jan 15 2013: Hi, John. I didn't see your edit until just now. I misunderstood you to mean the 1% should be volunteering more.

          I absolutely agree that there is a great deal more that extremely wealthy people can contribute to the public interest than their volunteer hours.
    • thumb
      Jan 13 2013: Mr. Smith, good to see you again.

      Yes indeed, this is not a job for the wealthy. I doubt they would want to sully their hands with such a task. They would not mind in the least if we cleaned the place up for them I'm sure.

      In reality I'm making the assumption we are headed for hard financial times (if we are not already there) and we will be on our own, as we were during the great depression, to take care of those who will need our help.

      We could be the ones needing the help too. We should not dismiss that possibility.

      I need to clarify this statement more: Most wealthy people, like actors, use managers to help them navigate through the maze of money making opportunities. In the end these managers are powerful people. When you take away from the time to make money, you have little time left for social interaction, that is non-productive towards creating opportunities for profit.

      On the other hand, there are many wealthy people who see volunteerism as a means to change the society in which they live, for the sole purpose of enlarging their sense of self worth. These people manage themselves. They are leaders at the top.

      But, with such people in the system, it still begs the question, why is their so much despondency in the lower regions of our society? Why is this region of our population so large? Why are these people begging for help and still not receiving it?

      There is the way we want it to be and the way it is. Eyes should be on the way it is.

      If your life has always been comfortable, spend two days at a very active emergency room and look at the people there. On the first day, do not interface with them just look. On the second day, try to engage them in conversation. Dress very casual and try to blend in. It's an extraordinary learning experience and it cost nothing. It will change your outlook on life and society.
  • thumb

    Gail .

    • 0
    Jan 12 2013: No. The more volunteers you have, the fewer workers you need. The fewer workers there are, the fewer consumers there are. The fewer consumers there are, the more the economy weakens.

    When the economy collapses, the answer will be very different.
    • thumb
      Jan 12 2013: @ TED Lover, Good to see you,

      If we follow that logic, given the high unemployment numbers in the US, I would expect to see more volunteers moving about, but I don't, other than me and my wife.

      The retail figures indicate that consumers are not spending. I can attest to this because my family has decreased our spending dramatically and our savings account is growing. We are extremely persistent at looking for the best deal and most of them are found on the intent. Even with the cost of shipping, we find better deals, but, this does have the affect of taking money, that could be spent locally, away from our community.

      The most common statement I see on most discussion boards is the fact most people believe we are going to have a financial collapse. I anticipate this situation this as well.

      I have been constantly giving my expertise, (computers, programming, electronics, home electrical), away for free to my neighbors, friends and family, anyone how can at least pay for my gas and the parts to fix their problem. My wife also. We even help out small businesses who need software solutions on the cheap (there are many). I'm also limited by disabilities, as is my wife. We just do what we can.

      There is a small degree of financial activity in our nation, but not enough to support everyone. There will be a large group of workers to service the wealthy but I expect the poverty group to grow much larger. They will need our help.
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2013: John, I don't remember where you live, but I know around here there are always zillions of volunteers moving about! It is interesting to learn that this is not true everywhere.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: There are many on paper here Fritze but financial difficulties have really cut into the available work force. What we don't have here that you have in England (as an example), is a refined welfare system that actually takes care of those not working. We also have only one medical solution for people with heath problems and no job, that is, the emergency room.

          We also have a national media owned and operated by the wealthy that refuses to focus on or correctly report the financial difficulties we are experiencing in the USA.

          I live in Canton, Georgia
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2013: I know you are highly skilled, John, and a disabled veteran. It is wonderful to be able to offer help to those who can do good things themselves with the benefit of your skills.

        I too am extremely invested in volunteerism and lucky not to have any disability to interfere with that. Using my skills in service has been a huge priority to me since I was about eighteen.

        Here there are large numbers of volunteers assisting in all kinds of activities, including lots of professional people. As an example, when I replied to a listing that the local Goodwill needed assistants to work with unemployed and often indigent members of the community on literacy skills for job readiness, I was told that they had more volunteers than they knew what to do with. Similarly, the website for the local children's hospital had a posting on its website that they could accept no further volunteers. I went to a volunteer open house for a writing center that works with young aspiring writers and the volunteer coordinator told the dozen or fifteen of us assembled there that she had far more applicants always than she could ever place.

        These are examples. Professional people volunteer as part of their interest in contributing to something bigger than themselves. Unemployed people volunteer in order to be using time usefully and building skills. Young people volunteer in part because of schools service hours requirements and in part out of interest in service. People volunteer in their communities and schools because it offers connection and serves a higher purpose.

        It is great for the community.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: Indeed, it's a wonderful pastime.

          I have been told by many organizations they had more volunteer help then they needed. The truth is, however, they don't want people meddling in their business. Right now, there is warehouses full of donated clothing and equipment for the people ravished by Hurricane Sandy in the New York, New Jersey area. They don't like to receive donations because they have to wash the cloths and check the equipment out for proper operation before they can distribute it to anyone. They prefer money instead, to buy new stuff.

          Last year most of the biggest charitable fund raising organizations revealed that they keep anywhere from 60% to 80% of all funds raised, calling it the cost of raising money. So, for every 20 dollars that goes to help people, 80 dollars goes to make the people at the top richer. This is a fact. They don't even try to hide it anymore.

          These people have a lot of clout when it comes to handling disasters. They made the rules that disenfranchised individual, organizations like churches and home grown disaster relief organizations from helping.

          Haiti is still a disaster with half the money promised not yet put on the task of helping that country. It was reveled that it was the aid workers who actually caused the Cholera outbreak.

          Organized charitable businesses are just that, businesses. They don't want your help and they don't want you to volunteer, they just want your money. After being turned back so many times, many church organizations are no longer offering to help.

          We need to work around this by each individual helping, privately, helping people to solve life problems. If your help is turned away, go on your own path. The images of poverty, even in wealthy countries, is proof they need the help. I would be asking why they are turning away free and able bodied helpers, willing to give it away for free. That just doesn't seem right to me with so much to be done.
      • thumb
        Jan 13 2013: John, I could not be more commited to doing what you say and have found many opportunities- some steady, some sporadic, and many spontaneous. Drew Dudley's talk emphasizes this message, as I recall.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: Drew Dudley's emphasis on affecting people to bring out their leadership skills is indeed relevant to this discussion on Volunteerism. I have posted it in the title area. Thanks.
  • Jan 12 2013: We are almost completely volunteer as it is.
    More of our wages are taken, illegally in the U.S.
    When the monetary system collapses, and it will,
    everything will be volunteerism.

    Everything will still be in its place. Growing food, transportation, factories, stores, goods, needs, desires to be of service, education, medical, you name it. So will the people who perform all these different functions. The only thing missing, so we will be told, warned and threatened with, is money, but money doesn't perform anything at all.

    Once again, nothing costs money.
    Everything costs people.

    Things don't "get done" because of money.
    Things, "don't get done" because of money.

    Seven needs of any monetary system are:
    greed, crime, inequality, poverty, slavery, war and death.

    Do these match your needs? If not, then a monetary system is not needed.
    It is corrupt by default, unjust, and cannot be made into a just system.

    It has to be replaced by a just system.
    In a just system, you can then get and even elect, for some minimal form of governance,
    people who will act ethically, honesty and for their intended purpose, which is to....excuse me,
    which was to, serve the people.

    People will still want to learn, teach, perform, travel, eat, sleep, wash, drink water, do something to contribute and everything necessary to do any and all things, and none of it actually costs money.

    If you want, or really need, change, then change to a just system.
    Stop educating your children with the wrong kind of education.
    Teach them how to change what we have, what they will inherit, what they will suffer with, which will be worse than the current state of affairs.

    Stop educating them into how to try and become successful in an inherently, essentially, and intrinsically unjust system.
    There is only so much to go around in that kind of system, but there is enough to go around if it is managed properly.
    With an unjust system, deceit, stealing, cheating and any unethical behavior becomes OK.
    • thumb
      Jan 12 2013: Mr. Chance stated: "...When the monetary system collapses, and it will,
      everything will be volunteerism..."

      Then we should get in as much practice as we can before that time so we will be prepared. :)

      Mr. Chance, you, more than anybody else displays the anger and frustration most of us feel and you do it quite eloquently. You are an asset to the human spirit.
      • Jan 13 2013: Mr. John Moonstroller
        (great name)
        You said:
        "Then we should get in as much practice as we can before that time so we will be prepared. :)"

        Very good point. :D
  • thumb
    Jan 12 2013: The problem (which we have in the UK as well) could be solved temporarily by everyone donating their wages for a short time. However the disease is much deeper. Power corrupts, & none corrupts more than the power to spend other people's money.
    As I understand it; your founding fathers realised this & made it illegal to charge income tax. Naturally the politicians have been trying to change this, but without success. If I am wrong please correct me, I am from the UK & may have it wrong.

    ""The federal government rests its authority to collect income tax on the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—the federal income tax amendment—which was allegedly ratified in 1913............. ......... After an extensive year-long nationwide research project, William J. Benson discovered that the 16th Amendment was not ratified by the requisite three-fourths of the states and that nevertheless Secretary of State Philander Knox had fraudulently declared ratification.""

    Anyhow, if we let them spend our money, & print as much extra as they like, then we will end up as their slaves.

    • thumb
      Jan 12 2013: Good to hear from you Peter.

      " The 16th Amendment, the income tax, has been the subject of many Supreme Court decisions. The IRS always cites to the Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916), to inform the public that the income tax was held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. What the IRS doesn’t inform the public about Mr. Frank Brushaber, the central character in the Supreme Court case, is that he was a withholding agent for several foreign investors in the Union Pacific Railroad, acting as their fiduciary.

      The Supreme Court, obviously being aware of all of the pertinent details, ruled in the Brushaber case that the federal government always had the power to tax income as an excise tax and, therefore, the 16th Amendment is constitutional.

      The Supreme Court then ruled in the very next case it decided, Stanton v. Baltic Mining, 240 US 103 (1916), the following: “… that by the previous ruling it was settled that the provisions of the Sixteenth Amendment conferred no new power of taxation, but simply prohibited the previous complete and plenary power of income taxation possessed by Congress from the beginning from being taken out of the category of indirect taxation to which it inherently belonged and being placed in the category of direct taxation subject to apportionment by a consideration of the sources from which the income was derived…”. The ”previous ruling” cited in the Stanton decision was referring to the Brushaber decision.

      A few years later the Supreme Court again ruled upon the 16th Amendment’s effect on the federal government’s power of taxation. In Peck & Co. v. Lowe, 247 US 165 (1918), the Supreme Court stated, in part: “The Sixteenth Amendment … does not extend the taxing power to new or excepted subjects …”.

      You can read more here:
  • Jan 12 2013: Why wouldn't it help, but we are dealing with several bubbles created by a selfish, unpatriotic elite. Such problems are not unique to this time or country.
    • thumb
      Jan 12 2013: Agreed....

      We need to form a larger group than the opposition. It must be active, consistent and civil. I would suggest it also be selective and have rules of conduct. By selective I mean, liberal minded, progressive, educated, humanistic in focus.

      If we are discontent with the status quo, we should not be content to bow down in passive humiliation. Change involves action and consistency.
  • thumb
    Jan 12 2013: I'm not talking about just picking up trash alongside the road. I saying pitching in to help a family by watching their Alzheimer's Dad while they are at work. This, of course, implies some type of certification process to make sure people are qualified in their perspective volunteer choices, but it can be done as a friend of the family.

    I would have no problem putting one day a week towards repairing and helping people with computer problems, or repairing computers in a government office for free, limited by my disabilities, but I still have good days.