Thursday, 13 November 2014

Crazy Idea 7 - Require everyone to give a number of hours community service each week

Just brainstorming here, why is it that we pay taxes so Government can do things we used to have to do ourselves?

I worked in Central Asia from 1999 till 2001 – in Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic. Despite having declared independence in 1992,the Soviet ideology was still highly ingrained into the culture and included things like everyone participating in work projects that benefited… wait for it… everyone!

Many years before Tajikistan, I lived in Shetland. We used to practice Da Voar Redd Up. Essentially a spring clean up where unpaid volunteers would head out of their homes and pick up any rubbish they found.

Over the course of a few years Shetland was transformed. The beaches were cleared of rubbish, the road sides also, eventually the momentum became so great that public dumps that had blighted the landscape were removed.

This was done and started by a growing mass movement of the people who simply got out there and made a difference.

I look around where I live and see a need for us - we the people - to take responsibility for our own lives. Council Taxes have flatlined for years while inflation has pushed up prices. As a result public services such as litter picking have been reduced and we are now seeing the consequence with streets strewn with litter.

I better not get started on repairs and maintenance…

But why do we pay tax to do things we are perfectly capable of doing ourselves? Everyone has skills. Everyone can contribute in some way. Yes, some will be more able to contribute physically, others will require support to contribute but wouldn’t that be worth it? Wouldn’t we as society benefit from working together on shared projects?

I look around my neighbourhood and I see trees and bushes needing trimmed back, I see litter on the pavement. Dog dirt that I have to avoid. I see council owned homes that are in dire need of maintenance and repair. I see public property with the same problems.

I hear about Government incompetence on the news. I hear there are not enough jobs. I hear that our economy has flatlined… What if we press-ganged every single person into contributing to resolving the problems we have as a country?

What if we gave people a choice? Contribute financially or with your time and energy or if you feel generous, with both?

The problems we face are great but working together we can resolve them.

Can you imagine what we could do as a country if everyone worked together? I'll share some connected crazy ideas over the next week...

Do post your own ideas or feedback on my crazy ideas in the comments below each post.

As I wrote last week, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. I will publish the full series once complete but this blog will remain.

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