In an unexpected and rather boring press conference, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott announced Wal-Mart's official acceptance of the GPI. The company would like to use its resources to boost the country's economic well being in the eyes of the GPI, and so plans to convert most employees to volunteers.
The GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator) is a GDP alternative created by economists at Redefining Progress. They claim that the GPI is a better way to measure economic welfare because it takes into account many more factors than consumption figures, and gives either negative or positive values to factors based on their effect on the economy, environment and well being of people. One of the positive factors that the GPI takes into account is the value of volunteer work.
"I was reading some papers on my desk and I guess some liberal put this Redefining Progress report on my desk. I was interested and happened to notice that they look at volunteer work when they compute the GPI…" Scott revealed and then trailed off into the story of his epic epiphany before finally presenting his idea. The amateur Power Point presentation detailed his plan to systematically reduce the pay of his employees to effectively nothing and report them as volunteers.
"Those guys at Redefining Progress are brilliant!" he concluded, "When I read that they think that 'some of the most important work in America is not done for pay', I almost cried. It was powerful. This is our way to be green."
Despite the seemingly large pay cuts that many employees have already begun to receive, however, there have been no vocal protests from employees.
"It just doesn't seem worth the protest," sighed one worker in charge of painting product logos under the eyelids of other employees.
"They killed my dog…" sobbed a greeter that ran off before we could ask follow-up questions.
Redefining Progress commended (sort of) Wal-Mart's willingingness to change in order to improve the economic well being of the country, but wouldn't comment on whether they thought the volunteer initiative would actually have that much positive impact on the GPI.
(Click here to read more about Redefining Progress and the Genuine Progress Indicator)