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Capitalist pain hits a village commune
CNN ^

Posted on 06/09/2006 6:24:55 AM PDT by The Lion Roars

Oaks is experiencing a midlife crisis. The Virginia commune supported its throwback hippie lifestyle for more than 38 years by selling hammocks and tofu. But in 2004, Twin Oaks lost one of its biggest hammock customers, Pier 1 Imports (Research).

Last year revenues slipped to $1.1 million from a 2000 peak of more than $2 million. And expenses such as gas and health care for the commune's aging population are climbing fast. "I hoped we would be financially secure by now," says founder Kat Kinkade, 75. "We're not."

Kinkade and seven other dreamers launched Twin Oaks on 69 acres of rolling Virginia farmland that they bought for $26,500 in 1967. (Today the commune owns 450 acres.) Like many other idealistic, left-leaning young Americans in those days, they hoped to escape the political and social tumult of the 1960s by forming a self-sustaining rural community. Since then hundreds of dropouts, drifters, and seekers have passed through Twin Oaks.

"A lot of people come here searching for something," says Kinkade, who worked as a secretary before she left the outside world behind

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: capitalist; commune; communism; hippies; socialism; virginia
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How is this different from a beijing sweatshop??
1 posted on 06/09/2006 6:24:57 AM PDT by The Lion Roars
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To: The Lion Roars

pier 1 stopped buying in 2004. They just now got the word ?


2 posted on 06/09/2006 6:28:40 AM PDT by stylin19a
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To: The Lion Roars
"I hoped we would be financially secure by now," says founder Kat Kinkade, 75. "We're not."

But, but...communism is going to save the world so we can all live in peace and financial security! The TV told me so. How can this be??

3 posted on 06/09/2006 6:30:05 AM PDT by liberty_lvr (Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.)
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To: The Lion Roars

The real world cuts through the bong smoke.


4 posted on 06/09/2006 6:30:07 AM PDT by atomicpossum (Replies must follow approved guidelines or you will be kill-filed without appeal.)
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To: The Lion Roars; Foxfire4

Because it's all about them channeling their karma and their chi, dude. And helping the environment, maaaan. And, like, being socialist, dude.

Besides, the oppressed in a sweatshop don't get weed, bra. Puff puff pass.

(/sarcasm)

These guys are about an hour up the road from here. We should get some folks to crash the place with a couple thousand gallons of soapy water and some fire hoses and help preserve the environment by washing off the patchouli oil that covers the funk.


5 posted on 06/09/2006 6:30:20 AM PDT by Moose4 (Please don't call me "white trash." I prefer "Caucasian recyclable.")
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To: The Lion Roars

because like it's a lifestyle, man. $2 dollars aday is enough to buy twigs and berries which is what Adam ate, dude.

Plus, we grow our own tofu on the tofu tree man. Oh yeah and we also grow and sell weed over at teh local Community college.


6 posted on 06/09/2006 6:32:07 AM PDT by Conservomax (There are no solutions, only trade-offs.)
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To: The Lion Roars
Maybe they should sell some of their 500 acres to the state so they can build affordable housing.

Land owning pigs.

How much money do you think "Apple" would see if they sold say 200 acres for 15 million?

I'd say she would see about $2.

I want my 2 dollars!


7 posted on 06/09/2006 6:34:45 AM PDT by Conservomax (There are no solutions, only trade-offs.)
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To: The Lion Roars
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
What a bunch of fools. Who are they trying to kid, themselves?
8 posted on 06/09/2006 6:38:37 AM PDT by Old Seadog (Inside every old person is a young person saying "WTF happened?".)
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To: Old Seadog

He he, think Steely Dan, "Only a Fool Would Say That"!

A world become one, of salads and sun, only a fool would say that..


9 posted on 06/09/2006 6:41:31 AM PDT by DBrow
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: The Lion Roars

What ideology holds this group together? According to one rumor I heard, it was B F Skinner's "Walden Two" behaviorism. Can someone help me out here?


11 posted on 06/09/2006 6:43:40 AM PDT by TomSmedley (Calvinist, optimist, home schooling dad, exuberant husband, technical writer)
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To: The Lion Roars
Communism relies on capitalism one way or another. Just consider the commune a poorly run corporation
12 posted on 06/09/2006 6:44:33 AM PDT by Archon of the East ("universal executive power of the law of nature")
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To: The Lion Roars
"How is this different from a beijing sweatshop??"


Check it out:


http://www.twinoaks.org/FAQ.html


So lemme get this straight. You work a minimum of 42 hours a week. You get 1 bedroom, share a car with 3 other people, eat crappy soy hippie food and only get 75 bucks a month to spend in the outside world.

It sounds like a regular communist paradise. I'll bet they also have a corrupt leadership.
13 posted on 06/09/2006 6:46:58 AM PDT by varyouga (I no longer fear death. I only fear the day when the DUmmies take over.)
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To: Conservomax

hilarious!!


14 posted on 06/09/2006 6:48:29 AM PDT by The Lion Roars
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To: The Lion Roars

I've no problem with this commune as its membership is voluntary and they require no money, participation, or acknowledgement from me.
Is it really any different from a tight knit community or enclave following a common set of beliefs?


15 posted on 06/09/2006 6:49:37 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: The Lion Roars
How is this different from a beijing sweatshop??

These yahoos are there voluntarily, and believe that sh**.

16 posted on 06/09/2006 6:51:59 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll. 17,400+ snide replies and counting!)
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To: liberty_lvr

The Tragedy of the Commons.


17 posted on 06/09/2006 6:59:34 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: The Lion Roars
Other members argue that salvation lies in ramping up Twin Oaks tofu.... the tofu hut is a literal sweatshop: hot, damp, and factory-like. The tofu managers have had a hard time persuading residents to pick up the extra shifts that are needed to expand production.... There's concern that the communal culture will change if members are pushed into the scheduled, repetitive, money-oriented labor that many of them joined Twin Oaks to escape. If that happens, some residents will probably move on.

First, eeeewwwwww. Second, join the 21st century, people. Third, to make a profit and actually become self-sustaining, they need to embrace capitalism, not eschew it. But I guess they're learning that the hard way.

By the way, land here in Central Virginia is going through the roof. They could certainly raise a nice bit of capital by selling a few of their 450 acres to a developer, but that would defeat the purpose of their self-imposed isolation/insulation from "the real world." Oh, the decisions we face. For some reason this clan of aging hippies brings to mind T.S. Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

18 posted on 06/09/2006 6:59:45 AM PDT by shezza (God bless our military heroes)
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To: varyouga
This is directly from their website: Activism: Twin Oakers are involved in a variety of activist work. Some social justice activities that members have participated in include serving food to the homeless with Food Not Bombs, working at a battered women's shelter, going to demonstrations, animal rights work, protesting the School of the Americas/Assassins in Georgia, writing letters for Amnesty International, participating in Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer Pride marches, and more. While many individuals at Twin Oaks engage in activist activities, as a community we do not officially endorse any particular course of political activism (i.e. members do this work as individuals, not in the name of community).

I laughed thinking of what would happen if Anne Coulter along with a few dozen protest warriors and freepers moved in. Would it change their society? Their section under "conflict" states all must be treated equally and their views respected...

19 posted on 06/09/2006 6:59:53 AM PDT by Teflonic
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To: The Lion Roars

They aren't bothering me. More power to them. They chose a tough life. Note: "Chose" is the operative word.


20 posted on 06/09/2006 7:09:37 AM PDT by Poser (Willing to fight for oil)
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To: Teflonic

I'm game. After the better part of a decade living in Cambrdge ma I could use the experience to slowly transition to the outside world:) Perhaps Anne and I can share a hut.


21 posted on 06/09/2006 7:10:20 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: atomicpossum

"The real world cuts through the bong smoke."

There is an old Hippie commune in Summertown, Tn. that was founded by Stephen Gaskin many years ago that had a lot of problems. They woke up, threw the bums out and started manufacturing Tofu (yeah I know) and growing Shitake mushrooms. They do quite well now.


22 posted on 06/09/2006 7:14:55 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: The Lion Roars

Nothing like a feel good story about smelly hippies.


23 posted on 06/09/2006 7:17:37 AM PDT by pissant
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To: dljordan

I wonder what one needs to do to be classified as a 'bum' in a commune. I wonder if the commune 'bums' were able to organize their own bum commune.


24 posted on 06/09/2006 7:17:58 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: The Lion Roars
Most [commune members] don't aspire to join the managerial ranks. "You don't get more money or a bigger room being a manager, just more of a headache," says Apple, 32, who joined the commune in 2003

Gee, ya' think??   You can almost see the lightbulb beginning to flicker in little "Apple's" soy-soaked brain.

25 posted on 06/09/2006 7:19:50 AM PDT by Libertarian444
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To: varyouga

"I'll bet they also have a corrupt leadership."

Of course they do! I've seen similar efforts elsewhere, and if you get into the legalities every single one of those vests all real controlling interest in a very few persons. I'd bet the same is true here.

If push comes to shove the seven founders walk away with the proceeds of the land, and everyone else walks away with the clothes on their back and a bad memory.

I've never yet seen one of these 'cooperative' efforts that didn't, in reality, revolve around a little soviet of power brokers who get everyone to bust tail for nearly free.


26 posted on 06/09/2006 7:20:44 AM PDT by No.6 (www.fourthfightergroup.com)
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To: varyouga
So lemme get this straight. You work a minimum of 42 hours a week. You get 1 bedroom, share a car with 3 other people, eat crappy soy hippie food and only get 75 bucks a month to spend in the outside world.

But it offers the greatest benefit these types could ever want: they don't have to think for themselves.

27 posted on 06/09/2006 7:23:38 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("When the government is invasive, the people are wanting." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: The Lion Roars
Kinkade and seven other dreamers launched Twin Oaks on 69 acres of rolling Virginia farmland that they bought for $26,500 in 1967.

These figures struck me as an awful lot of dough for 1967. So poking around the web I found one of those "How-much-would-it-cost-today?" conversion thingies.

Yes, I know, it is a very ball-park figure, but turns out the equivalent of $26.5K in 1967 is $105.3K in 2005. This mean that Miss Kinade -- who was a secretary at the time, I believe-- and seven others "dreamers" ponied up the equivalent of at least $105K in today's money to "open a commune to they hoped to escape the political and social tumult of the 1960s by forming a self-sustaining rural community."

Has the distinct wiff of Varsallies about it.....


28 posted on 06/09/2006 7:23:42 AM PDT by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: No.6

Makes perfect sense. Socialism is in part predicated on the idea that 'others' cannot manage their lives and affairs as well as the leadership can, and hence the leadership must control, in their wise and benevolent hands, the assets of the group.


29 posted on 06/09/2006 7:23:45 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: varyouga

Did you read that FAQ? My son and I were ROFLOL!!


30 posted on 06/09/2006 7:29:18 AM PDT by kalee (Send your senators the dictionary definition of "amnesty")
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To: The Lion Roars
How is this different from a beijing sweatshop??

Could it be that they aren't forced to be there?

31 posted on 06/09/2006 7:31:00 AM PDT by TChris ("Wake up, America. This is serious." - Ben Stein)
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To: dljordan

"Other members argue that salvation lies in ramping up Twin Oaks tofu.... the tofu hut is a literal sweatshop: hot, damp, and factory-like. The tofu managers have had a hard time persuading residents to pick up the extra shifts that are needed to expand production.... There's concern that the communal culture will change if members are pushed into the scheduled, repetitive, money-oriented labor that many of them joined Twin Oaks to escape. If that happens, some residents will probably move on."

And there's the crux of the matter: these "residents" don't want to work, they are lazy. They all have this pie in the sky fantasy of communal living where food and clothes just appear, and they can sit around all day writing bad poetry and attending protests and smoking weed.

It sounds like there's a core group that keeps things running, but it also sounds like they get a lot of drifters who think it's a Greatfeul Dead parking lot party 24/7.

How many farmers would KILL to have 500 acres and a live-in workforce, and make a great living? They whine and cry and hold to their idiotic ideals, and don't realize how wealthy they truly are - typical hippies.

Fine with me if they want to live that way, as long as they don't get government money or support, and god help any kids raised there. But I just have to laugh, that yet again, a bunch of flunkies from the 60's find out yet again socialism is unsustainable.

Maybe in 40 years more, they'll learn what "diviersification" means, and expand their product line from 2 things. Hammocks and tofu for everyone! Bwahahahahahahaha!

Stupid hippies.


32 posted on 06/09/2006 7:31:59 AM PDT by ByDesign
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To: The Lion Roars

QUOTE OF THE YEAR:

"Pier 1 was a boon to the community," says Kathryn, a 29-year-old manager in the hammock business. "For a lot of us, losing them was also kind of exciting - no more working for a multinational. But now we really have to deal with what we want to be as a business."

HAHAHAHA....I can't stop laughing..."losing a multinational customer was exciting" Oh my god, only a leftist would find this exciting...


33 posted on 06/09/2006 7:33:06 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: Tulane

"HAHAHAHA....I can't stop laughing..."losing a multinational customer was exciting" Oh my god, only a leftist would find this exciting..."

I would'nt even call them leftists, they're beyond that. They're sad.

Generally, when I've dealt with people who would find this place attractive, are one thing: LAZY. They don't want to deal with the real world. BUT, they want to enjoy the perks of the real world, and use electricity, computers, cd players, cars, tvs, movies, healthcare, whatever, but they simply cannot handle the responsibility of fending for themselves and taking any risks, so they create this smug, cucooned community where they can indulge themselves day and night.

I'd have more respect for them if they'd never worked for Pier 1, but they sure took Pier 1's evil capitalist money for a long time, did'nt they? And they made a LOT of money, and they get tax breaks. Hypocrits, the lot of them.

I'd be impressed if they lived more like the Amish, and kept contact with the outside world at a minimum, and were truly self-sustaining. An Amish farmer would do well with 50 acres, let alone 500.

Heck, it's Virginia. Grow tobacco. There's your cash crop.

Stupid hippies.


34 posted on 06/09/2006 7:51:30 AM PDT by ByDesign
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To: The Lion Roars

This sounds like "Animal Farm".

Gee, maybe if instead of making hammocks and tofu, they diversified into items with greater profit margins and were in greater demand? Like tennis shoes.


35 posted on 06/09/2006 7:51:40 AM PDT by Sensei Ern (http://www.myspace.com/reconcomedy/ "I'M YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE...AN AMERICAN...and I am voting!")
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To: ByDesign

"attending protests"

Any bets that these people are filling out the numbers as hired protesters in DC?


36 posted on 06/09/2006 7:55:46 AM PDT by Sensei Ern (http://www.myspace.com/reconcomedy/ "I'M YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE...AN AMERICAN...and I am voting!")
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To: The Lion Roars

Ok, there are around 100 residents (according to their FAQ). Why don't they try a new experiment? They could save the original 69 acres, divide the remaining 381 acres amongst the residents (3.81 acres each) and let each resident do with it what they wish.

Happened to turn the Plymouth colony from a starving group of Pilgrims to a prosperous group of Pilgrims in a very short period of time when Bradford tried this.


37 posted on 06/09/2006 7:59:35 AM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: The Lion Roars
A lot of people come here searching for something

Weed, hash and acid.

How is this different from a beijing sweatshop??

Weed, hash and acid.

38 posted on 06/09/2006 8:00:56 AM PDT by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 69-71)
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To: The Lion Roars

How does losing a multinational like Pier 1, differ from
now selling your product on eBay?
You still have to distribute. Now instead of Pier1 handling
all the distribution, pick up, and sending a nice check( I wonder
if they use checks, cuz it might be backed by multinational
bank) they themselves have to to send it...oh my gawd, they'll have
to use a multinational delivery company, or even worse,
the US post office...maybe they can hand deliver it to customers.
....somehow, I get the clinical feeling that marijuana and/or
alcohol hampers the brains ability to process information..and these
folks are graphically, and financially showing the effects of those two
psychotropic agents.


39 posted on 06/09/2006 8:02:22 AM PDT by Getready
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To: The Lion Roars

SOmething smells fishy...$1,000,000.00 annual revenue, and each person get $60 per month($720.00 annual).

From their web site: http://www.twinoaks.org/

It states there are "around 85 adult members and 15 children." Surely they are not disobeying child labor laws...sarc...so that makes the labor cost: $61,200.00 annually.

That means $1,038,800.00 is being spent elsewhere. I am sure some goes for the web site and utilities, and some goes for equipment and replentishing the tofu crop and hammock crop, but there is still a large chunk going somewhere else...I suspect it is going for imported Columbian hemp....because you know it makes better hammocks.


40 posted on 06/09/2006 8:05:23 AM PDT by Sensei Ern (http://www.myspace.com/reconcomedy/ "I'M YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE...AN AMERICAN...and I am voting!")
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To: Sensei Ern

I meant $1,100,000.00 not $1,000,000.00.


And, that is down from 2 Million.


41 posted on 06/09/2006 8:07:30 AM PDT by Sensei Ern (http://www.myspace.com/reconcomedy/ "I'M YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE...AN AMERICAN...and I am voting!")
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To: ByDesign

The Amish have no prblem taking responsibility for themselves...these people obviously do....


42 posted on 06/09/2006 8:08:58 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: Alouette

lol!


43 posted on 06/09/2006 8:10:42 AM PDT by Tulane
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To: The Lion Roars
How is this different from a beijing sweatshop??

These people are here out of choice, not out of necessity. It's a free country. Let them organize their community however they choose.

44 posted on 06/09/2006 8:14:02 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: No.6
Of course they do! I've seen similar efforts elsewhere, and if you get into the legalities every single one of those vests all real controlling interest in a very few persons. I'd bet the same is true here.

Every proletariat needs its dictatorship...

45 posted on 06/09/2006 8:18:56 AM PDT by Triggerhippie (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.)
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To: posterchild

"Makes perfect sense. Socialism is in part predicated on the idea that 'others' cannot manage their lives and affairs as well as the leadership can, and hence the leadership must control, in their wise and benevolent hands, the assets of the group."

Let's be clear here, though. Let's assume that someone wanted to open up a tofu-and-hammocks arrangement under a capitalist model rather than this communist one.

They'd still buy some land, set up a shop, get people to show up and work. The owners are in control either way.

The capitalist model assumes the workers would also like a nice life for themselves and pays them accordingly, and produces a product that can survive competitively. As a result the workers and the owners share and enjoy.

The difference is that in the communist model the owners lie to their work force about who's really in charge, pay them next to nothing, and work them in miserable conditions. Only the owners gain any wealth out of this; the workers get nothing and if they leave, leave with nothing.

Just a case example to keep in mind next time some lib starts playing the class envy card; under the communist model ONLY the already-rich benefit.


46 posted on 06/09/2006 8:19:34 AM PDT by No.6 (www.fourthfightergroup.com)
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To: The Lion Roars

$1.1M revenues.
100 residents.
$11,000 revenue per person per year.
$2 stipend per person per day.
Assume: $5/day food, $2/day room per person per day (ballpark estimate minimum derived from my food/housing costs extrapolated to comfy hippie setting).
$3285 income per person per year.

A couple questions:
- At $9/day, they're better off than half the world's population (median income $2/day) ... so what's the problem?
- Meager incomes aside, where's the remaining $0.77M/year going?


47 posted on 06/09/2006 8:23:38 AM PDT by ctdonath2
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To: ByDesign
This same dynamic makes various Christian communes/cults attractive. I served my time in one back in the early 70s -- the sense of "belonging," of community, is wonderful. But the glad relinquishing of personal responsibility bites at the end, when push comes to shove, and it's time to take charge of yourself again. Susan Berg, daughter of "Moses" David Berg, said men coming out of such groups often need extra hand-holding, since they have a gap of several years in their resume, and an impaired work ethic. The flip side of living in "voluntary poverty" is the feeling of spiritual elitism, the feeling that the world owes you a living for being so special.
48 posted on 06/09/2006 8:25:41 AM PDT by TomSmedley (Calvinist, optimist, home schooling dad, exuberant husband, technical writer)
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To: No.6

Good clarification. BTW I don't begrudge the original founders maintaining control of thier original idea and land purchase. I presume that in the case of this commune this is made clear to prospective members. It is in essence a 'lifestyle themepark' experience the leadership provide to their members.


49 posted on 06/09/2006 8:30:00 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: ctdonath2
where's the remaining $0.77M/year going? State, Federal and FICA taxes I presume....
50 posted on 06/09/2006 8:32:50 AM PDT by posterchild
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