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Wed, Oct. 12th, 2005, 08:04 pm

If you based labour credits on an hour's work, would you just make sure that people rotated the unwanted work? What if two people were particularly skilled at something, and thus needed to do them, but one was easier and more enjoyable (these maybe hard/impossible to measure save the people's own opinions)? Would you still alot them equal labour credit?

Cross-posted to mutual_aid. Sorry if you got hit twice.

Tue, Nov. 1st, 2005 04:01 pm (UTC)
kenllama: variable labor credits

I don't know if you got a response to this post in the other comm, but since you didn't get one here, I'll mention that Kat Kincade talks about this question and Twin Oaks's five-year experiment in a variable labor credit system in her book Is It Utopia Yet? pp 30-32 (with a related discussion of assigning undesirable tasks from 32-33).

They tried two systems: one in which each job had a fixed rate (eg washing dishes = 1.2 c/hr; cleaning toilets = 1.8 c/hr, etc) and another in which individuals set their rate (i like making tofu, so I get .8 c/hr and you don't so you get 1.3 c/hr, etc).

The experience she reports is that the idea of variable credit had some traction but that the fixed system was just as inequitable as a universal rate (because if you like digging ditches more than balancing checkbooks and I feel the other way, then how do we find the right rate?) and the individualized system was too susceptible to manipulation.

I (who have visited communities but never lived in on one for more than a few weeks) tend to agree with TO's eventual conclusion that a variable credit system is too fraught to be worth the headache. Perhaps it would help to shift the focus from "how much is an hour worth?" to "how do we make sure that everyone mostly gets jobs they enjoy / the unpleasantness is spread around about equally?"

If you don't have access to the book, let me know and I can send you a scan of those pages.

Wed, Nov. 2nd, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
v3g4n: Re: variable labor credits

Thanks for the response. I was planning on reading that book eventually. Right now I've got two books on the way from ic.org:

Living the Dream and Nonviolent Communication

I am in Montreal and am having a hard time finding these books anywhere, so I am just ordering them (but I don't like to spend money!).

You mentioned that you've visited many communities, and I'm really interested in doing so. Which ones have you visited? Twin Oaks seems like a good choice but I'm also playing with the idea of visiting specifically vegan communities (or just ones that are more vegan). I'd really like to intern (organic gardening/natural building/general social politics).

Wed, Nov. 2nd, 2005 03:46 am (UTC)
kenllama: Re: variable labor credits

i wouldn't actually say that i've visited lots of communities: i did a three-week visit at Twin Oaks last year, and have hung out at a few cooperative houses and a cohousing community. I also just got back from a weekend at Diana's Grove in Missouri, which is a different sort of mostly non-residential intentional community.

I know there are some good organic gardening internship possibilities in California and Britain, but I'm not really sure where.

Good luck with finding a community that suits you!

Wed, Nov. 2nd, 2005 03:57 am (UTC)
kenllama: Re: variable labor credits - ps

You can view the relevant pages from Is it Utopia Yet at:

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 07:27 pm (UTC)

I am still reading A Walden II Experiment, which is also by Kincade and covers the first five years of Twin Oaks. It is fascinating to read it because it is from the perspective of the early years...when she couldn't have known it would still be a success 20+ years later. It is really cool to see the kinds of conflicts they had to go through. It's like a crucible of human development. Really makes me think!

I found a lot of my books on half.com, ebay, or on the intentional communities website itself: www.ic.org. You can also probably order them from specific community book rooms.

I'm planning on visiting Earth Haven and Abundant Dawn in the next few months as well. I'd also like to visit The Farm in a few months.

Thu, Dec. 15th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC)

That's funny. I'm reading 'Living the Dream: A documentary study of Twin Oaks community', which as far as I understand was the book to come out after the one you're reading.

Hope your visits are awesome. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to go visit Twin Oaks in April, or/and if I want to visit urban co-operatives.

Thu, Dec. 15th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)

I checked that book out too, but haven't had a chance to read it yet!

You should do both!!!

Thu, Dec. 15th, 2005 03:29 am (UTC)

Yea, I think I should do both too. :) It's just hard if you want to do something different than your partner, to leave your partner for awhile. Ugh. :/

Thu, Dec. 15th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)