Re: Work levels
From: Jerry McIntire (
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 14:09:38 -0600
This is regarding varying levels of common chore participation by cohousers,
specifically Scott Cowley's Jan 13 post. (From Jerry McIntire in Portland,
OR, member of an as-yet-unnamed retrofit cohousing group meeting regularly
and looking for more folks interested in close-in, affordable cohousing).

Scott Cowley wrote, essentially, make everyone agree to do an equal share of
the work and get rid of them if they don't. Nice in theory? Agreeing on what
should be done is not likely at all, since: A. agreement on such details
when a group is buying/planning/building is low on the agenda  B.
Definitions of cleanliness and frequency needs vary widely  C. It doesn't
work in the planning and building stages, why would it later? People who
have different standards and time availability don't necessarily want to
perpetuate the servant class or live in gated communities.

How about changes in people's lives? They happen. How about differences in
ability? If we do have age-diverse communities, who wants to  force
octogenarians out for work parties? Not that many of them can't participate,
but all of them? 

I appreciated the attitude expressed earlier on this list, that for a
close-knit community to succeed, member's contributions, at whatever varied
level they come in, can be appreciated. It's not going to work if an
absolute equality of participation is required.


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