Re: Governance & Income Inequality
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 05:17:09 -0800 (PST)
Great questions.  I agree about distribution of knowledge, power, duty and 
participation — but I also believe in a division of labor as exemplified by the 
sociocratic model.  I think my community, and probably others, spends far too 
time sitting in a big circle and arguing about trivial expenditures like $300 
for a little free library.  And far too little time on the big picture issues 
like membership standing of tenants, a marketing program, or why the arts and 
crafts room gets so little use.

Our communal energy and good will pool is often drained by financial conflict.  
Sadly, household income inequality sometimes appears to be one of the root 


> On Feb 13, 2015, at 7:58 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
> ---- I understand all the answers to the following questions. I'm just 
> raising them to spark examination of our financial practices-- the basis for 
> the cohousing economy. Liz's message just  happens to raise the issues. The 
> questions are not directed at her community.----
> Why are cohousing communities secretive about finances? With shared ownership 
> and risk, the community lives or dies based on economic as well as social 
> participation. Yet few want to examine that in a way that actually 
> distributes responsibility equally.
> Why should anyone in a community have more information about the workings of 
> the community than others? How is that decided? Why should the treasurer 
> and/or the board know but no one else? 
> Why should some people take responsibility for economic health and not 
> others? 
> Secrecy is the required precondition for abuse.
> Knowledge is power. Why not share the knowledge? Why not share power? 
> Knowledge is also a burden. Aren't we supposed to share it?
> The three values of good governance, as identified by many including the UN, 
> are transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness. They are also the 
> foundation of sociocratic organization and governance.
> Cohousing communities seem loath to govern -- to actually implement the 
> policies they sometimes take years to develop. Or to be realistic about how 
> the community is really being governed and by whom. Unless that happens are 
> we really creating a new society?
> Sharon

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