work levels
From: Scott Cowley (
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 11:42:12 -0600
Thanks to Pam Silva for unveiling her experience with another classic coho 
(world) subject:
 Is a Community there to be "used" ?

What are the mitigating factors to be permitted in work responsibilities ?
Are children... usually an excuse ?
Is your employment exhaustion... usually an excuse ?
Is employment commitment... often an excuse ?
Do your travel or play interests take precedence at the expense of other 
community members ?

If your answer to any of these is "yes", then gated, exclusive, age- and 
communities are probably a better answer for you.
For you, servants, laborers, and maids will therefore remain an essential 
class.  One that
is to be perpetuated, and perpetually kept in its place -- by any means 

What's new about any of that ?

I sure know I didn't get into this joyful process to donate my time to the 
wealthy and rapacious,
either. But if you're honest about it, the personal self-sacrifice of a 
Cooperative Community does
not come naturally to any citizens of the United States!  Including us 

It does seem odd to me, though, how far them dang opportunists are allowed to 
go before they _get

I think I would begin the process before move-in.
Then, I think I would start a discussion about what the hell a community is and 
what this one in
particular values. Then, I would attempt to brainstorm the various mitigating 
factors with everyone,
and where to put limits on them. Then the limits and work requirements would go 
into the legal
language of the association. Then, as a jury of peers, encourage and reward 
those who make the
effort, and oust those who won't.  Let them return to the "old world" where 
they can truly find
their place.  Simple conditioning...meted out with the sensitivity of a caring 

The long term educational thrust might be to move toward some more radical 
sacrifices, e.g.
fewer children, fewer work hours, fewer possessions, less travel, more 
flexibility, more
helpfulness.  But a lot of this will come with clarity and trust developed over 
time.  The main 
thing is to have a community which has survived.

At Wasatch CoHousing in SLC, UT, we are just now facing this question.
But the whole point of CoHousing, in my opinion, is to learn how to make and 
run a fair community.
And this is a change worth fighting for.

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