Out of time
From: Martin Tracy (mtracynetcom.com)
Date: Sun, 3 Apr 1994 22:09:33 -0700
Gareth Fenley writes:

------------------------ Original Message ------------------------
your post is fascinating!  more please
My hands are so much better now!  Tendonitis begone.
I'm glad your tendonitis is gone, Gareth.

I visited the local Unitarian Universalist church in Palos Verdes, CA. for
the first time last week.  I was struck by the same demographics that I
have seen in other churches lately... very few churchgoers from ages 30
through 60.  This seems to bear out what I read in the latest issue of In
Context.  The theory goes:

We have become excellent producers.  Today we have only three percent of
the farmers we had a hundred years ago, yet they produce three times as
much food!  We have become such good producers, in fact, that only half of
us (in America) are needed to produce everything everyone else is
consuming.  The other half are employed in token or useless jobs.

A visitor passing through the USDA noticed one of the workers was sobbing
with his head down on his desk.  "What happened to him?" the visitor
asked.  "Oh, his farmer died."

Government, legal firms, middle management, office management are
particularly overloaded.  Under pressure of international competition,
many large companies are downsizing, squeezing out these positions.

Meanwhile, those of us with jobs are trying to hold on to them in a
shrinking job market.  More of us are going back to school, or carpooling
our kids to endless "enrichment" activities so that they can get a crack
at this vanishing job pool.  Many of us are willing to commute longer
distances, too.

The net result is that those of us working 40 hour weeks are spending even
more time on our jobs than before.  We may feel that we don't have enough
time for family, church, or community.  Those of us who are unemployed or
retired may feel that we have too much time.  The rift is widening.

We have tried to solve this problem with welfare within our country, and
social darwinism (let the poor starve) internationally.  Neither is a good
solution.  One possible solution is for those of us with jobs to share
them.  Job sharing already happens in the fields of health care and
education.  Shorter work days or work weeks is another solution.  Those
with jobs would have to learn to live with less money.  But we'd have more
time, and that might be the better part of the bargain.

(Here, I digress from In Context.)  In California, there is a high fixed
price for hiring/firing an employee,   estimated to be about $5,000, spent
on protection against discrimination and wrongful dismissal lawsuits.  In
addition, there is the fixed price of health insurance.  Split a job so
that it can be shared, and you spend twice as much on fixed costs.  The
Clinton health plan would probably increase that amount.  Perhaps legal
and health care reform must precede economic and social reform. 

Ironically, many of the truly neat people I know are feeling too busy or
too poor to take advantage of an alternate lifestyle which might create
for them more time, money or both.  Perhaps time runs at a different pace
in cohousing communities.  Do more people work at home?  Live on less
money?  Retire earlier?

But I ramble...  Writing these messages is enormously helpful to me.  I
would like to exchange what I have learned about alternate lifestyles and
community for what you have learned about cohousing.  I have a set of
indicators which I believe has predictive value in determining the
relative health of a community, or I could talk about open marriage as a
very small community, or about the dramatic change in curriculum at the
John Woolman Quaker boarding school, or...
  • (no other messages in thread)

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