Budgets in the cross hairs

I would like to eliminate labor budgets.  My community budgets over 200 areas from welding, to path maintenance, to bees,  to fixing the phones and computers, to taking care of the kids distinct from educating the same kids, to tofu making, to going to the doctor, to political activism, to managing and organizing commie clothes, to fixing our bikes and cars, to doing performances for the community, to room assigning, to doing software development and many many more.  We play a giant trade off game each year in hopes of getting these numbers right and balanced with our expected labor for the year.

The perennial question is “Would we get all this work covered if we did not use this budgeting system and the sister quota requirement?”  Many in the community are clear labor budgets are necessary.  That without the labor budgets and our quota system which check and balance each other many think we will not get our work done.

I want something else to be true. And i am willing to overlay any number of additional systems to take out this oppressive piece.  What i was proposing on the morning of this charged conversation was various different flavor of work area labor collectives.  Not to be confused with member group labor collectives like Bolo and Jack Vanzetti.

Where i live, mythical labor hours are more contentious than hard earned dollars

In my mythical structure, you might need to be in three or more labor collectives.  Labor collectives would represent work areas in the community, like food, or community infrastructure or any of the cottage industries.  So if Twin Oaks were modeled this way, you might need to be in one of our income areas:

  • hammocks
  • tofu
  • indexing
  • conference/workshop organizing
  • outside work (construction and demolition, house cleaning, raising the JPJ floor, elder care, software development, customer support for accounting, etc – exterior contract work the community gets paid for).

Then you would be on one of the domestic collectives that dealt with any of a number of household and family issues.  There could be an outreach council, which promoted the community and the communities movement (like our TOAST program does now), that does local community support, like the superhero bike riders do out at the Possibility Alliance, that writes articles about the community for publication and so on.

Leaving oppressive budgets may require complex collective interlocking

The idea is if you were in multiple councils which were meeting to satisfy their general and specific tasks on a regular basis. Collectives could distribute their work to where it was needed and the councils would track whether your work scene was sufficient for the needs and agreements of the community.

In this model, the social pressure of the group would be used to help ensure that there is a fairer (not to be confused with fair) distribution of work obligations to the community.

But the even larger heresy i want to commit, in this new community i am talking about starting, is eliminating the idea that you have a labor obligation to the community while you are gone and thus over an extended vacation, you get further in debt.  I am looking to create a place that is thus likely more transient and flexible.  More on this hot topic soon.

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

2 responses to “Budgets in the cross hairs”

  1. angietupelo says :

    There’s also a powerful argument to be made that setting the budgets each year requires a ton of time and energy which could potentially be spent on more fun and interesting projects. But clearly changing systems would also suck up lots of time and energy- I’d love to see a graph showing when the change becomes more “profitable” than staying with the current system. Because I am a dork, and I like math.

  2. Sid says :

    It is not easy to get people to part with a system that may have problems but which is well known to them. Sometimes it goes easier if they can “try before they buy.”

    Plan a test run with measurable results/targets. Outline the new plan for everyone to see, agree on a date, and then run it for one day and then get results and make any improvements. Then schedule a second longer test run, again with a fixed end date. Then everyone meets and decides if the launch was a success or whether more tuning and a fresh trial are needed.

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