ShovelBoy wrote:In a commune with scarce resources, it seems intuitive that the necessaries of life could never be 'private' until everyone's needs were sufficiently catered for. They'd be shared out so people don't go short. This might seem like a bad thing when your belly's rumbling and you see the tasty hog you hunted dished out to all and sundry. But when the point is reached where all needs are met, everyone gets better off and can start to kick back a lil. It'd be a rough ride getting there, but overall it's more conducive to the survival of the commune. I think a decent model for a commune would be a primitive society. All competition stays firmly within the bounds of play and never impinges on co-operation. Wolf-packs are a nice little prototype, too. When a mother's had some cubs and has nursed them to the point where they can eat solids, she goes back out with the hunters to get back in trim. A wolves stay behind to take care of the cubs and play round with 'em, and can also usher them into a lil burrow if other predators are on the prowl.
Something like this was brought up in a conversation a while back & I just have to ask you the same question I asked then (not trying to be a dick, I'm honestly curious). What do you do with a member of the commune that refuses to pull their own weight & still expects (even if it means grazing while working in the garden for example) a equal share? And just as important who makes the decision, if you let the population of your little group vote on it enough people could be swayed, guilted, or even threatened as turn voting into a farce.
Let's make it a little more difficult & go with this hypothetical situation, me & my small family live on (own) 10 acres of prime land on the edge of the little village that's being organized into a commune. We have no desire to share with the villagers, we'll trade with them but they aren't going to get anything we produce or have stocked up without meeting our price. We've lived the prepping life style for a while & are sitting pretty, but for whatever reason we don't care for our neighbors & don't want to be part of their commune. I'm not talking an active threat but more of a passive "sink or swim it makes no difference to me" neighbor that will be eating regularly while you go hungry situation.
I look forward to your answers & have faith that they'll be better than the last ones I got.
Well, you wouldn't be part of the commune. In the hypothetical you provided, your family and their ten acres are a separate entity from the commune. There's no reason to think free trade between your family and the commune couldn't benefit both groups, that's what trade's supposed to do.
I would hope membership in a commune was voluntary: if enough people shirked , and the shirker vote held sway then the productive members would leave - if they didn't feel membership in the commune benefited them, why would they stay? If membership does have some benefit, then those benefits are worth working for.
If the shirker vote didn't hold sway, those who didn't work would be asked - pointedly - to do more. In such small groups, peer pressure and shaming are more than sufficient to gain compliance. I'd prefer a system of private ownership and trade within the group to communal living, but it doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. There could be communal tasks that everyone benefited from - like maintaining a levee, or standing guard against raiders, or fixing potholes, or putting out fires - and primary, private functions like baking, brewing, blacksmithing, software engineering, zombie husbandry or whatever specialized labor someone was entrepreneurial enough to undertake, that were for profit, barter or currency based.
So, you shot a hog. Is it worth it to you to share it out to the other members of the commune who don't hunt so well? It might be. What do they do for you? Would you be happier on your own, with the whole hog to yourself, or will the guy you share the hog with today help you fix your roof tomorrow, or guard you while ypu sleep tonight? There's no right answer, you're a free person. Stay or go.