Day 2 - A radical topic

Submitted by Eli Winterfeld on September 22, 2012 - 9:36pm

This afternoon, not surprisingly, brought more good experiences, conversations and connections.  After a lunch of great conversations around community and agriculture I attended a workshop entitled: “Economic leveraging through income sharing”.  It was led by a man named Laird who has lived in an income sharing intentional community for 38 years!  His community is called Sandhill community if you are interested in further exploration.  He made some really interesting (and logical) points around the potential of income sharing. 

Singular ownership of many material goods is relatively inefficient.  When you own something such as a lawn mower, chop saw, a washing machine or even a car, it often sits and waits until you desire to use it.  This is very convenient but rather inefficient.  Instead, Laird proposed that a group of people (a community) could collectively own something, such as a washing machine, that would get used more often.  The cost of this washing machine is thus reduced drastically per person than if it were individually owned.   It is also much more environmentally friendly to buy one washing machine as opposed to 10.

Laird also discussed how income sharing can lead to the ability of individuals to spend more of their time on things that they enjoy.  If you like earning income through a job but hate scrubbing the toilet, cooking and doing dishes, that works.  If you like to spend the majority of your time doing work around the house and only a little time earning income, that’s fine too.  It is equally important that this two types of work are completed.  Because so much is held in common, many resources (especially time) can be allocated more desirably. 

There are some drawbacks to income sharing that were discussed at the workshop.  Some people may find it hard to share material goods because they have different standards of up keep (dishes is a big one in the intentional community world J).  There may also be power dynamic issues because of the different monetary contributions to the group.  Another big issue is that of leaving the community.  Laird said that their community assess each individuals’ situation and provides them with a modest sum to help ease the transition back to independent income life.  It is important to note that this practice is not back pay.  The person is not financially reimbursed for their input.  It is much more social capital dividends that they collect. 

Though there are some kinks in income sharing is does seem like a feasible way to build community, spend more time doing things you like, and lessen your environmental drain on the planet.

This conversation was also very interesting because Laird’s community operates (in terms of income sharing) quite similarly to the intentional community I grew up in.  Being able to engage in this topic as a young adult and really examine it was a very neat opportunity, now that I actually participate in the world of money and income. 

There are some more evening events that I now must rush off too.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here.

Conference name?

Hi Eli,

Sounds like you are in a great place. What is the name of the conference? Can you include a link to their website in your next blog? I'd also like to hear something from the conference that makes you feel uncomfortable.


The Art of Community

The conference is called the art of community.  I have a link to the website and the schedule in an earlier blog entitled the beginning of an adventure in learning.

What has made me uncomfortable?  Great question.  

One thing that doesn't really make me unconfortable but rather is hard for me to connect to is the new age spirituality of some of the folks here.  It is only one demographic of the group but they use a lot of language and ideas that I am not able to connect with at this time.

Another thing that doesn't feel quite right is a few people/groups that present themselves or their ideas as business proposals.  When I talk to a few people (really a very small fraction) it seems like they are making a sales pitch about their idea/project.  Most of these ideas are actually good ideas but their delivery make me uncomfortable because the way they are going about their projects does not seem to fit with the ideals of the ideas themselves.