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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Communes? Convenient way to live or recipe for trouble

Well I finally got one of my computers at work. I have been here for over four months and they got me my permanent laptop instead of the loaner I have been using. I am still waiting for the desktop though. I shouldn't complain I came in at the end of the fiscal year and they are giving me the specs that I requested for my new computers. The laptop has a 1.8 gigahertz processor, 3.5g of RAM and a 150g hard drive. I am pretty happy with it and it will handle my GIS software with no problem. I don't really know what this has to with todays topic but I was just happy it happened.

Back to the topic of the day, I have a running joke with a couple of friends that since the land is so cheap in the Midwest we should just buy up a couple of hundred acres and start a commune. I think the hippies had the start of a good idea. I am not talking about your typical commune I am thinking about a high tech commune of the future. It would be great, we could design it to be environmentally friendly, with energy efficient houses, solar panels and other energy saving devices. We could wire them all into a large network and get a good price on internet connectivity. It would be great to have all your friends close by, you wouldn't need to spend a lot of gas driving or flying to go see them. You could have a community center for parties and stuff like that. I can even imagine growing and preserving a portion of our own food in a large community farm (of course it would precision agriculture using aerial imagery to precisely spray chemicals to be eco friendly). Our kids could be taught in a community school My wife could teach (she doesn't know this yet of course). I like the idea of living in a close knit community and feeling confident that your neighbors aren't psychos, or worse...

As I started actually thinking about how this could work I liked the idea more and more, but, then I started to think about my friends. what do you do when one of them makes you mad? Can you kick someone out of a commune? It seems like there should be a rule against it somehow. Then I started thinking about other people seeing how great it was and trying to "buy" their way in. Of course we wouldn't let them and then the ACLU would get involved (and everyone knows they are nothing but trouble) Then we would have to build a wall to keep out the crazies and pretty soon my nice happy "commune" has turned into a "compound". Sheesh what a pain!! I guess I will have to wait until the world is a little less crazy for this idea to work. I better start making the places I am better, instead of trying to find a better place.


Jeff said...

Lots of people start communes, they are called cults. You know Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Warren Jeffs, David Koresh. Great folk every one. I would not be surprised in the FBI has you on their "People We Need to Visit" list. I have however thought of investing in a housing development that has very strict and enforced covenents that would include loud music, smoking, upkept yards amongst other things. You could still have a park for gatherings and such but you can keep out the riff-raff with strong community covenents that are strictly enforced. See all the benefits without the cult stigma attached. I have come to realize that there is a big difference between not being friends with your neighbors and hating your neighbor because they are no good, white trash that could care less about your rights. I can live with someone who i just another guy in the neighborhood, waves as you drive by, keeps his yard clean, doesn't blair his radio every Sat. while outside getting drunk off his crack and has a cloud of smoke billowing over the fence that so strong that it becomes a pleasant task to clean up you dog's land mines because it smells better.

Scott said...

I know what you mean I feel sorry for your neighbors. =0)

Anonymous said...

Some communes have existed for a long time and are wonderful places. Some are religious based, while others are not. Christ advocated communes, and his apostles started a commune just after his death. The rich and powerful didn't like it though, and killed many of them.

Currently communes are much easier to start, without fear of being killed for it. The law will still harass you some, but not to bad. There are thousands of communes in the world right now.

The problem is in the system of decision making. Current communes are either run by a dictator or by democracy. Both systems do not work. Democracy sounds like a good idea, and it works somewhat when everyone has their own income, but it fails miserably in a commune where income is shared. When income is shared, you need a much better system of decision making to decide what to do with the money.

When a group makes decisions, the result is slow and bad decision making. Groups never like new ideas. Only rare experimental people like new ideas, and without that ability to experiment on new ideas the group can not produce new sources of income, so the group stays extremely poor. That is why democracy doesn't work in a commune.

I've come up with a cure. My system is to give each person decision power over a portion of the money. The money is still owned by the community, and what ever is purchased with the money is owned by the community, but the power to make the decision is in the hands of the individuals.

This allows experimentation with the groups money, which allows new sources of income to be produced. You have to spend money to make money, and only by allowing individuals to spend the money can the group make money.

This change in decision making system will allow a commune to produce more technology than a regular company. Hundreds of minds produce better ideas than one. Since communes are also an extremely efficient way of living, such a commune would not only produce more income, it would spend less on living expenses, so it would grow very quickly.

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