People sometimes tell me it’s a fantasy to think people will do things “for free”. They say Copiosis Economies can’t work because such an economy expects people to do work for free.
It’s worth noting that Copiosis Economies don’t ask people to do things for free. People are paid for what they do, but not in the way they’re paid in traditional capitalism. I think the way traditional capitalism uses money to motivate people to do things is a terrible way to get things done. That’s why we do it different in Copiosis Economies. And the way we do it is better.
Arguments aside, there are lots of things people willingly spend their time doing – that benefit other people – without getting paid for their effort. Here are ten great things people are doing right now, that they do for no financial compensation:
- Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia curated and edited by unpaid volunteers not only has become hugely popular as a resource for human history and events. It has put the print-encyclopedia industry largely out of business. Today it is one of the most cited resources across the world and exists in many languages. Where does all this content come from? People are providing it. Yes, with no compensation.
- Craigslist, curated by volunteers with content generated by everyday people like you and I, has nearly destroyed print classified advertising. At this moment, it now facilitates the majority of private trade of goods and services between people in the United States. Nearly all of this service is provided to people at no cost to them.
- Well before they received income from advertising, Bloggers provide interesting and valuable content to others. Was financial reward their initial motivation? Nope. They provided that content from their desire to share their experiences and knowledge with others.
- People contributing to the success of strangers through the power of people united in organized (or disorganized) groups for a common cause, otherwise known as “crowdfunding”. There are lots of examples of these. A few of them you may have heard of: Kiva.org, Kickstarter, indiegogo are pretty popular and others like these allow people to give money to worthy causes and fund cool ideas. All with no expectation of financial reward. (Yes, there are some campaigns that offer rewards in promotional goods, but they are reminded that funding an idea does not guarantee a return of any sort. It’s simply a “perk.”)
- People are also contributing to massive projects through “crowdsourcing.” Large numbers of people come together to provide information to others that help those people make decisions. For example, people are providing huge volumes of data on US and international cities on the website city-data.com, which millions of people use in equally different ways. No one is being paid for providing the information.
- People are offering computing capacity to aid medical research aimed at curing disease. Others are offering that capacity to support NASA’s search for extraterrestrial life. Do they do these for financial reward? No, they do it because they find these things worthwhile and interesting.
- Even more people (literally millions of them!) do product reviews and give their opinion on vacation spots on sites like Amazon.com, Yelp, travelocity.com with no expectation of being paid for their efforts.
- People freely share their personal lives and activities on social media sites such as Facebook, twitter and myspace, their creative works on Flickr and Instagram and share their varied tastes on Pandora, Spotify. All of this content is provided by people who expect no payment in return.
- Of course, there’s also the generous action of Americans during natural disasters. Americans respond to natural disasters with millions of dollars in aid at home and abroad. In some cases, people from all walks of life flew to disaster areas on their own dime to lend a hand, help rebuild or provide medical care with no expectation of compensation. In others, they used advanced technologies – Twitter, Facebook and mobile devices to communicate updates, stay in touch with loved ones involved and, yes, even donate money to disaster relief. All of this value provided to others with nothing expected in return.
- Finally, people are opening their homes to strangers – to strangers! – to sleep on their couches. Yes, couch surfing has become a new way for people to travel on the cheap. Those who offer their couches for these folks to crash get nothing in the way of financial payment.
I couldn’t help it. Her are some more:
- People come together across the nation to create and run Tool libraries with no expectation of being paid for their work. Tool libraries are where people can borrow tools for gardening, construction, auto repair and more. Neighbors with excess numbers of tools: saws, hammers, levels, scaffolding etc., bring these items to a central location where they are catalogued and offered to other neighbors on a loaner basis simply by showing a drivers’ license. These now exist in 22 US States and six countries.
- People have experimented with Bike share programs, where bicycle-transportation is made available in cities for people to use to get around. People generously positioned used bikes in places around town expecting to be paid nothing for their effort. People needing transportation could simply borrow one and leave it at their destination for another to use.
- People offer their work in Agriculture, with no expectation of pay. They make their back yards available for gardens, their fruit trees available to be harvested with the bounty provided to other families.
- I’ve seen similar agricultural generosity where people labor to convert sidewalk strips — once full of grass and debris — into tiny gardens then offer the fruits of those gardens to passersby at no cost to them.
- There are people offering their second-hand goods for free, leaving them on street corners or listed on websites such as Craigslist or Freecycle.
Still think people are unwilling to do things without paying them? I’ll ask you to think again. These 15 examples, plus a lot more reasons are why we believe Americans are ready for Copiosis Economies.