Re: Work or Pay Systems
From: Brian Bartholomew (
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 07:50:19 -0700 (PDT)
> The point of the process is that sometimes a decision /must/ be
> made, and sometimes that decision needs to be made quickly. If the
> roof is leaking in a unit, you can't abide one member insisting
> that, e.g., a really expensive green-certified company be used that
> can't start for a month, when a less expensive trusted company could
> do the work tomorrow.  When such decisions must be made, you have no
> choice but to sacrifice one member's opinion (or even go against
> their values) for the good of the community. Otherwise any one
> member can hold the whole community hostage to their decisions--and
> if you have TWO members unpleasant enough to try this, you'll get a
> deadlock and no decision at all. I have actually seen such a thing
> happen when I was a guest at a cohousing community once--thankfully
> they had a process to deal with it.

You are not "forced" to make this choice.  Nobody's going to die if
you wait a month.  You always have options.  For instance, you could
accept you chose co-owners poorly, and now you are all going to lose
your investment.  You could let the situation fester until the other
owners come around.  You could let the person who wants the other
service pay the differential for price and delay.  You could attempt
condo divorce.  You could agree in advance to a resolution procedure
that is far more limited: 'If the building structure is violated, and
we can't agree on how to fix it, we agree that we can use any disaster
restoration or plumbing company in the local yellow pages and spend no
more than 5% of the last appraised value.'  I'd agree to that, but I
wouldn't agree to unlimited democracy for unlimited purposes at any time.


> That's not the point of the process by any stretch.

These decisionmaking processes are being held up as examples which
should be used in larger contexts in society.  I am pointing out that
the important parts of the processes are mostly placebo, and won't
work in a larger context where some people aren't kind.


> Though frankly it seems like you'd have more luck following the
> "Superbia" approach of just building community in a traditional
> single-family-home neighborhood--that way there would be no
> mandatory shared ownership of any property, and no need for
> "Impurgent" decisions.  That's where I'm headed in my personal
> adventure to build community [...]

That's where I'm headed, too.  I'm looking at purchasing in an area
which is a mixture of mowed-lawn suburbia and singlewide trailers with
junk in the yard.  Tolerance is too much to hope for; my hope is that
the values are so different that there is no majority, and the zoning
politics are semi-permanently deadlocked.

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