Re: # adults/common costs
From: phalpern (
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 93 10:19 CST
> >I guess our rationale on using # adults rather than # humans is
> >to encourage rather than discourage families w/ kids.
>     ^^^^^^^^^
>     subsidize at the expense of family units with fewer or no kids.
> I can't think of a general argument to support such a subsidy.

Indeed.  We must be very carefull about whether we are trying to create
a neighborhood that brings community into American life or a utopian
community with socialist or other ideals.  Although it is laudable to
attempt to deal with affordability issues, racism, sexism, homophobia
and other social problems, we should think twice if we are leaving the
main stream so much that we isolate ourselves from the larger society.

If we make an effort to recruit minorities, the only requirement we make
on our members is that they not be too prejudiced against those
minorities.  On the other hand, if we ask childless people to subsidize
families with children, we are asking people to pay an economic price
that they would not have to pay in the wider society.  This could lead
to resentment and eventually result in a homogeneous neighborhood of
families with children.  Small tweeks in economics are okay.  Large
redistribution of wealth should be avoided.  Currently, families with
two income earners and no kids enjoy an economic advantage.  I believe
that a cohousing community is the wrong place to attempt to change this
fact.  (This is similar to the issue of members of communes sharing
their income.  Several communes lost their best income-producing members
because of this policy, even though those same members agreed to the
policy at one time.)


Pablo Halpern                          phalpern [at]
(508) 435-5274

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