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volunteer labor


lemur
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Since reading that Obama is urging congress to help get jobless people to work, I was wondering whether volunteer labor could be sufficient to sustain people until the economy is generating the kind of revenues/incomes they seek. My general impression is that volunteer labor is plentiful but that it's not typically used very efficiently or productively. I have the impression that it's more of a social affair to participate in hobby-, beautification-, or charity- type projects. If you would design a volunteer-labor driven company, what would you produce?

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I was wondering whether volunteer labor could be sufficient to sustain people until the economy is generating the kind of revenues/incomes they seek.

Because volunteers are generally paid with smiles and thank yous, I can see volunteering as pumping confidence back into society to the point where employers need to hire back the jobless. I think jobless people collecting benefits could be required to do some sort of part-time work (in between looking for a real job), thus, they would have a "paying job" even if it was to do the work they'd normally do.

 

Thus, the government would be acting as a temp agency, but the companies receiving the benefit of the volunteer work wouldn't need to pay the government. Society benefits from this economic shot in the arm, and there's no need to burden the taxpayers with an economic stimulus package. Yet, some company somewhere already paid for these workers' unemployment insurance benefits, so the volunteer work was already paid for at no cost to the taxpayer. Wait ... this makes too much sense. :blink:

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I think volunteer work , like internship, probably have a chance to lead to more permanent employment. I've just applied for a post of conservation officer at the local Parks and nature reserves managing organisation, which is a semi independent organisation with links to the gov. They have volunteers working for them. and I've a feeling that volunteers are going to have an edge, if we are applying for the same post.At least there is something interesting on the resume. The organisation did not say so, but just a vague statement that volunteers are entitled to some benefits.

 

Religion volunteers going from door to door spreading religious ideas is some volunteer work. I've also known that a local monastery need volunteers to sort out some donated items, electrical appliances and such. They are into recycling too.

 

I've heard that many moderators in internet forums do their work for free. If I have a software product or just some goods related to some hobbies, I'll setup a forum, and have some volunteers around to help hype the products and ideas.

Edited by skyhook
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Does it ever occur to you how unnecessary any of this work is that you (ewmon and skyhook) suggest is? I initiated this thread with the point that if the recession would get to the point that basic necessities like food and shelter were unavailable, people could produce them using volunteer labor. I was not talking about using volunteer labor to keep morale up and give people something to put on their resumes so they would appeal more to future employers. That is the stuff of economic over-abundance and if unemployed people have the luxury of spreading the word of God door to door, then why is there talk of economic problems in the first place?

Thus, the government would be acting as a temp agency, but the companies receiving the benefit of the volunteer work wouldn't need to pay the government. Society benefits from this economic shot in the arm, and there's no need to burden the taxpayers with an economic stimulus package. Yet, some company somewhere already paid for these workers' unemployment insurance benefits, so the volunteer work was already paid for at no cost to the taxpayer. Wait ... this makes too much sense. :blink:

In a legitimately productive economy, volunteer work would reduce the need for fiscal stimulus because economic needs could be sufficiently fulfilled without the use of money. In a post-industrial economy (why not just call it "post-productive" actually?), however, I think the money-distribution aspect of employment is actually more significant that the productivity. You could pay people for sitting in an office checking other people's files and the fact that those people are getting paid and spending money would stimulate other businesses' revenues and create other jobs. For this reason, fiscal stimulus makes sense - only the big picture of it is so disconcerting that people long to get back to a productivity economy when they see that money as become its own means and ends. Plus, who wants to be the person working in food-service whose job was "created" by giving someone else stimulus money? I'd rather people fry their own french fries and not have a job created for me in fast food, wouldn't you?

Edited by lemur
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