Is volunteerism an asset?

January 19, 2023

I am writing to dissent from the widely held view, exemplified in your editorial of October 28, that volunteerism is always positive. In general, and in Concord, it is often performed by those with sufficient wealth and leisure to offer their time. But for many people this is not possible, so volunteerism is unrepresentative of the community as a whole and thus essentially undemocratic. Also, in many instances, volunteers lack competence in the tasks they undertake. In my opinion, education, planning, finance, and health, for example, should be left to professionals with appropriate training and expertise, under the supervision of our elected representatives. Finally, like much philanthropy, volunteerism is a well-intentioned but mischievous substitute for government, rationalizing the continued underfunding of public services.

Michael Coogan
15 Whittemore St.