Economic Multipliers (178)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Poverty is not an economic multiplier. (No. 8)


I reiterate:

‘Elections (and any time) are a great time for young people to ‘meet’ their leaders.

For that reason, I’m hoping young people will think about some things they observe in their world related to how their ‘leaders’ lead.’


Rarely a day goes by when I cannot think of someone who is doing something to make some other person’s day better.

Recently an older woman expressed concern that many of the ‘doers’ are aging out and noted that it can be difficult to find people who are able to volunteer large blocks of time (at least 4-8 hours every week or every month for years on end) for sometimes rather repetitive tasks.

When I think of individuals younger than me, I usually think of young people who are very generous with their time (and many times their money, talents and things).

A ‘gap’ in thinking is when you have two or more groups which really want the same good things for themselves and others yet can’t find a ‘process’ which bridges the gap. Sometimes the groups don’t even bother talking with each other to know they want the same good things.

The United States has historically discounted ‘volunteer time’ without recognizing the contributions to its own economic multipliers (that 2 + 2 ≥ 8 world).

In the volunteer world, on the front end, individuals:

    • learn skills

    • learn how others communicate and think

    • learn how to work with others

    • learn whether they themselves are good teachers

    • learn how they respond when all is not exactly the way they’d like it to be (Imagine your thoughts – and know that everyone has thoughts of their own. Most people have their own preferred ways of doing things until a better or easier or less costly way is agreed upon AND becomes automatic: Skills are the things you do without thinking and usually the ‘being able to do’ process is more fun than the ‘learning’ process.)

    • learn how organizations function

    • learn how they think about how organizations and communities function

In the volunteer world, on the back end, individuals:

    • provide goods and/or services to others

    • learn how others communicate and think

    • learn how others respond when all is not exactly the way they’d like it to be

    • learn how others see themselves fitting into the world

    • have an opportunity to teach others that there are many people in the world who care about all sorts of things

    • learn to start identifying things that seem to need to change in order for communities to be the best possible places for people to live

A younger person may not want to stuff envelopes if they could use an envelope stuffing machine. Local corporations and smaller businesses may not even know that small volunteer organizations might only do one large mailing a year and an ‘in kind’ service could make a huge difference. Lots of ‘in kind’ services have been making huge differences for years.

A younger person may be more interested in ‘doubling up’ with their best friend to volunteer 2 hours a month while writing a computer app on the side that makes it easier for volunteer organizations to track volunteers or provide clear instructions on the tasks that are to be completed and the best way the organization currently knows how to do them (which saves a LOT of time).

As an individual who has occasionally offered assistance in traditional volunteer channels and also ‘impromptu’ channels, the number of things I’ve learned over the years from other individuals and the organizations themselves is staggering:

    • Some volunteers willingly share their knowledge and the processes because they are so comfortable doing so.

    • Some volunteers worry that they ‘don’t know enough’ or hesitate to offer a better way lest another volunteer take offense.

    • Some volunteers constantly balance how they should allocate their limited time knowing that explaining things to others also takes time.

    • Some volunteers always see new ways – which are sometimes ways which have been tested multiple times but really only work if you have fulltime people, a greater depth of resources or greater coordination with other groups working on the same kinds of things.

    • Sometimes volunteerism is competitive: People have different preferences for tasks and can bring different skill sets to the table. The diversity (and competitiveness) are good when organizations figure out worthwhile ways to accomplish their objectives AND create good and developing relationships and skills for all involved.

It’s easier to understand how economic multipliers work if you are able to see how the ‘volunteers’ in your community make and have made a difference and why.

Misunderstood economic multipliers are the benefits of:

  • joy – worthy smiles that take nothing from anyone else

  • ‘don’t need to think about it anymore’ skills – I’ll call them: human automatic skill sets

I've observed and worked with a lot of women and men over the years on many ‘not terribly complex’ but ‘quite a bit of work and time’ tasks who ‘show up’ and in the absence of a lot of formal coordination, just get things done.

I myself never expect to remember ‘steps.’

Many years ago, when an older neighbor showed me how to operate their older model snowblower for use when they were away, I drew a rough picture and numbered and labeled all the things that needed to be turned on, pushed and pulled and slid over. I also did a reverse numbering and labeling scheme for shutting the unit down. I could tell he thought it odd – I considered it necessary.

In college, they’d call something like this a ‘cheat’ sheet.

In real life, it’s just great to know how to get things to work. It’s just great to work with people who have a lot of skills.

Newer snowblowers seem to have less steps. If I use one, I still use a ‘cheat’ sheet.

Every model has its own nuances (nothing substitutes for the manual). These few things get me going:


1. Check fuel/oil

2. Spark plug, muffler, fuel cap in place

3. Traction + attachment drive clutch levers disengaged

4. Throttle to fast (run in fast)

5. Fuel shut off valve to ON

6. Safety key in

7. Choke at choke [ \ ] (for cold engines)

8. Push primer twice

9a. Rewind start, pull slowly until resistance, then fast

9b. Elect. start, plug in unit – THEN power

10. Press button to start; 5 sec. max.; 1 min. between

11. Unplug power, THEN unit

12. Run 3± min. – move choke to run: [ / ]

13. Flooding (i.e. doesn’t start): choke to OPEN/RUN; throttle to FAST; crank ‘til starts

Not on my list: If you can’t get it started, shut/power everything down, wait 5-15 minutes and start over (similar to electronic equipment). This and checking to make sure the safety key is in if you have one solve many problems.

Ready to Run

1. Position chute

2. One axle lock pin unlocked (for turning); lock both – more traction

3. Start w/ clutch levers disengaged

4. Set speed

5. To snow: only use traction clutch – lift front slightly by pushing down on handles

Snow: squeeze attachment clutch, then traction clutch

Brake: release both clutches

Change speed – in forward, don’t need to declutch

To reverse – declutch, then switch


1. Move throttle to slow, then stop

2. Remove safety key

3. After engine stops, close fuel shut-off valve

4. Clean up unit

Is it just me or does this seem like a lot to remember? – the first time around – even if you’ve used other equipment. And, do you remember everything season to season?

Things that aren’t on the list:

  • Very wet snow drains down if there is a path and it is easier to snowblow or shovel if gravity does some or a lot of the work.

  • For deep snow, using a ¾ to ¼ snowblower width can work better than the full width and shoveling or snowblowing a path can provide a good start.

  • For plowed in snow at the bottom of driveways, it’s sometimes easier to snowblow the top and work your way down.

  • Neighbors usually know a lot about all the different ‘techniques’ for your local weather conditions and it helps to pay attention.

Other things not on the list:

  • Beginning of season tire pressure check.

  • Fuel stabilizer at the end of the season.

  • Oil checks / changes.

  • Manual recommended additional maintenance.

‘Oldsters’ have an advantage in a lot of things. If it takes (roughly) about 16 times to permanently imprint something on your brain and oldsters not only have over 16 times but 16+ years, it’s no wonder that a since passed neighbor had thought it unusual that I’d want to write a few things down.

If you’re young, even if you don’t talk to many older people, pay attention to the things they do. If you’re in the presence of people who routinely create economic multipliers, you’ll be amazed by what you learn.