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Nicole Lapin

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Private Sector Conscription: Can Mandatory Company Service Work?

Posted: 09/22/11 11:59 AM ET

In a time of fear-based, dog-eat-dog capitalism, why in the world would the stewards of the free marketplace give their stuff or services away for the common good?

You would would think the idea would be too insulting to ask. But, I'm the kind of lady who never takes a seemingly obvious "no" for an answer. With what looks to be an endless list of economic woes to tackle before the country sees anything close to a "recovered" rubber stamp or "mission accomplished" banner above Treasury, I thought it was worth a try to see if we can convince some heads of industry to help out.

I came up with a list of questions based on just five ills plaguing the economic recovery. I asked CEOs within the areas in which the expertise was needed to make a pro-bono contribution to the country for these particular problems.

"Would you be willing to donate paper to Treasury for all of the extra money being printed?" CEO of Fortress Paper said "yes."

"Would you be willing to help modernize recruitment for public sector? I mean, The Plum Book is so over..." CEO of Korn Ferry said "yes."

"Would you be willing to help make all health records electronic?" CEO of Humana said "yes."

"Would you be willing to offer mobile payments to troops?" CEO of Verifone said "yes."

"Would you be willing to offer transportation for prisoners?" CEO of Hertz said "yes."

Now, I am no statistician, but I think those are pretty good odds. And, who am I? I'm no diplomat or big politician, just someone who had the audacity to ask the question. It won't be like that with every ask; I'm no unrealistic dreamer, either. But we should all realize that "Big Business" isn't that big and bad. In fact, if the country fails, they fail. We are in it to either win it or lose it together so we might as well all start helping in the most effective ways we can.