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Mandy Fisher

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What are the benefits and the issues that arise with communal living, and should society encourage this type of lifestyle?

When you hear the term "commune", it is easy to conjure up pictures of graceful hippies frolicking through wildflowers and wild-haired babes carrying corn husk dolls- but in the literal sense of word, communal housing is basically a group of people living together and sharing responsibilities. In the documentary "Happy", a family living in Denmark is featured in this type of setting... why? Well, because they were happy. And so was everyone else (generally speaking). So, do you believe that communal living, that is to say, living with a group of like-minded people under one roof with shared responsibilities, is the way to go? What are the benefits? What are the negatives? Do you believe the government/people should encourage this lifestyle? How can we accomplish this?

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  • Aug 12 2013: I can relate a fairly widespread example from my own country, Israel's Kibutzim (or whatever you spell them as in English).
    Dozens of communes both large and small spread across the entire country, even before the nation was founded.

    Initially it all seemed to work out quite well, with the residents all being idealistic newcomers, ready and willing to live in a very communal setting. Everyone got the same salary regardless of their job (people working outside paid any extra they got directly to the commune), and lived in near identical accommodations. Even the children were communally raised at first, though they stopped doing that in later years.
    The communes were actually a major hurdle towards getting western backing during the cold war.

    The whole thing fell apart over the years, I'm afraid.
    The first generation was plenty idealistic, but their children often much less so. Over the years, the inherent problems in a communist economical system slowly led to most of the communes being unable to support themselves financially, and once the government stopped backing them up, they folded up one after the other.
    A few still function, but by large, the whole thing is seen as something of a failed social experiment. It played its part in the past (communism actually works fairly well when your country is piss poor and has little infrastructure anyway, but that's assuming you never dig yourself out of that hole, which Israel did) but communes have little room in modern Israel, which has since turned rather capitalist.

    In general, I say that if people want to set up communes, let them.
    I wouldn't go about encouraging it though. They're doomed to failure, if not now, than in two-three decades. Communism just doesn't work as an economic model, even on small scale.
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      Aug 16 2013: I totally agree, only greed is the lifeblood of the capitalist economy, sharing and caring never got anyone extremely rich and powerful. Communes are doomed to failure because they are about subsistence and profit is minimal, but so is exploitation. And communes probably never took more land from the Arabs, they had enough for themselves.

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