Re: consensus and the greater good of the group
From: Sarah Kerr (
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 1997 12:54:30 -0600
On the same note, we have been having the same discussion here in Calgary and
have come to no great conclusions.  It gets even more complicated if the
issue is so central that is may preclude the person standing in the way in
the way of the decision (blocking it)  from remaining with the group.  

We have committed to making our units affordable (1000 square feet at no more
than $80,000 Cndn) but we also want an inner city location, so the question
of which property to buy (ie how close to the inner city) has great bearing
on our final cost.  We are in the process of deciding how realistic it is to
be both affordable and downtown.  There are prople who absolutely cannot
afford to participate if the units come in over $80,000, so their strong
preference is obviously for less costly property (perhaps at the expense of
inner city location.)

In the hypotetical (but imaginable) example which came up when we discussed
the individual good/group good consensus issue, the questions were related to
when the good of the group outweighs the good of the individual.  If one
person absolutley cannot participate if we buy property"x", can -or should-
they stand in the way of that decision?  On one hand, agreeing to it clearly
means that they cannot participate, but if they disagree, is it group good or
individual good?

Messy stuff, eh? (note the culturally authentic retorical question)  When
does an individual stop thinking for themself and start thinking for the
group, especially if - while it may be alright for the group- they cannot
"live with the outcome" as the consensus process requires?

I'd love to be around to take part inthis discussion, but I'm leaving for
California tomorrow (to, among other things, visit some cohousing projects)
but I'll read with interest when I return and meybe pick up the thread then.

Sarah Kerr
Whole life Housing, Calgary, Alberta
Where the chinooks have finally brought us a respite from the worst winter in
80 years and we are just about to sign our Documents o Incorporation as a
Part 9(non-profit) Company.

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