Everybody’s got an idea for the transition except me and my monkey

Every day brings another idea for the new Administration–today, a group of ex-Secretaries of State and Defense suggested creating an office against genocide in the White House, certainly a creditable idea but not necessarily more entitled to immediate attention than the notion that President Obama should endorse the use of Esperanto.  Still, rather than be left out of this season’s most fashionable parlor game, the Nonprofiteer offers her version of How Everything Would Be Much Better If People Would Only Run The Government My Way.

Here’s the idea:

This country’s most important work is done by amateurs–which is another way of saying that we have nonprofits, governed by volunteers, provide most of our social services, education, arts, and health care.  If we’re going to continue to do this (and there are good social-capital reasons why we should), let’s give those amateurs the same tools the Small Business Administration gives entrepreneurs, namely expert advice and access to money.
Creating a Nonprofit Business Administration would be a very low-cost way to capitalize on the spirit of service and volunteerism the President-elect created through his campaign and evokes repeatedly in his speeches.   Volunteer effort is too valuable a resource to be wasted, as it is every time a nonprofit board has to reinvent the fundraising wheel.  And the work of charities is too important to be stymied by a financial system which won’t give them access to working capital unless they beg for it–and sometimes not even then.

The Aspen Institute, a leading think tank on issues related to charity, recommended creation of such an agency back in June, an idea which the Nonprofiteer dutifully reported as though she hadn’t had it herself in 1992.

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3 Responses to “Everybody’s got an idea for the transition except me and my monkey”

  1. Brian Barker Says:

    I think the endorsement of Esperanto, by President-elect Obama, is a sensible idea.

    I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

    The promulgation of English as the world’s “lingua franca” is impractical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

    Impractical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

    Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is essential.

    An interesting video can be seen at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8837438938991452670

    A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

    • Nonprofiteer Says:

      I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that someone is arguing seriously for a position I offered as an exemplar of absurdity. Whatever the solution to the problem of majoritarian destruction of minority languages (if there is a solution), I doubt it’s to institute a new language that no one speaks–that’s not the way communication works.

  2. Dear Nonprofiteer, Can I borrow working capital from a Board member? « The Nonprofiteer Says:

    […] would lend to nonprofits the way the Small Business Administration lends to small businesses.  But this hobby-horse of the Nonprofiteer’s doesn’t seem to be making any more headway in the Obama Administration than in any previous […]

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