|RE: cooperative ventures?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)|
|Date: Mon, 23 May 94 16:32 CDT|
Jim Slotta wrote: >One question that I've had for some time concerns the possibility of >cooperative economic ventures which draw on the power of shared land, >resources, time, vision, etc. I know of no cohousing group which goes to the length you describe. However almost every commune, many cooperatives, land trusts and other such intentional communities do this as a way of life. The level of economic cooperation is one way I've seen people distinguish cohousing from other intentional community types. In cohousing each household is economically independent. In a commune, each household is economically dependent. This of course doesn't mean it can't happen and maybe it will and does and I just haven't heard about it. Around the Puget Sound cohousing groups the expectation is that you are economically independent enough to pay your share of the total cost of the enterprise. In some cases, members may loan funds to one another or to the organization in times of need or crisis but the organization as a whole does not typically support individual members financially, at least in any large scale way such as paying mortgages or groceries. One of the barriers to making this happen is the weird notions that cohousing is not about economic dependence. In the promotional literature about cohousing the focus is on private ownership of homes and cooperative ownership of other facilities. I have seen statements that say: This is not a commune, in order to distinguish it from that type of community. I think people who would be really interested in promoting cooperative business within cohousing, especially if it involved the creation and funding for individual shares of the community development might have a hard time. For one thing cohousing has relied largely on commercial banks which don't support such things very much, if at all. Bank mortgages for capalization pretty much demand middle class economic credentials if you want to play with them. Banks also give intense scrutiny to independent business because of the high default rates of that group. Energy drain is another problem. Large scale cooperative ventures require full commitment to that venture. Making a small business work well enough to pay a mortgage is a good trick and requires enormous energy and talent, even when done cooperatively. Cooperative business effort to fund cohousing development would be a great way to allow low income folks to be part of the scene, although I find it hard to imagine how you could put enough energy into both a cooperative business venture and creating a cohousing community. I think cohousing can adapt well to doing cooperative run business once it is capitalized and built. Using organizational assets such as land, for the profit of a few of the members would raise some issues in my group. We have discussed the use of the commonhouse as a center for a commercial daycare which would be run by one of the members. The feelings I have gotten so far is that people support having onsight daycare for their own kids, but using the facilities to take care of other, non-member kids would not be OK. That may be just local to my own group. If using the commonhouse for a daycare helped pay for it, or entirely paid for it it might be looked at differently. Rob Sandelin Puget Sound Cohousing Network Sharingwood Cohousing
cooperative ventures? Jim Slotta, May 23 1994
- RE: cooperative ventures? Rob Sandelin, May 23 1994
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