The intentional community of in which I live, does not have a community business nor do members recieve a stipend. One way to think of the community is as a research cooperative. We all have a shared vision of created a post-consumer culture based on rural values with appropriate technology for the village scale.
We recognize that by living together we can lower our costs dramatically, while vastly improving our standard of living by being with and caring for one another.
There is a German concept called "Usufruckt" which means that one has can derive the benefits or profits from some piece of land so long as you do not destroy it. This is one of the tenants of our community. The land and many of its commonly owned tools and resources are available for common use, so long as everyone sees that you are taking care of them.
Our policy has been to have every person be in a situation like Fred Morgan; having their own independent business from which to earn income put into a communal pot. We have a set amount of money due per month for the basics, and any money you want to add on top of that goes toward specific projects that you want to see move forward and that hopefully move the community mission forward. Any over-the-top projects that people have are always at the discretion of our board of directors.
The intention for adopting this policy is to mitigate some of the problems with having a community business. That we want each person to be independently resilient and economically viable parts of the entire community. Only in this way can the community have the resilience necessary to last for generations.
I could go on and on, but I will stop there for now.
Fred Morgan wrote:
It is an interesting question. We are dealing with something like this with our company mechanic. He has found out that he has some very serious back issues to deal with. We are discussing that he moves into one of the plantations and first spends a lot of time resting. After that, he can check fences and pests inside the plantation. Once he recovers a little bit, riding horses is excellent for you back and he is a very good rider.
He is about 60 and that is about the end for many mechanics since the job is hard on your body. Time for him to contribute some other way.
He will receive half pay and a place to live. He advises our young mechanic, so he can still contribute with all his years of experience.
I think something that needs to be embraced is that older people have a lot of value - you just have to accommodate them. And honestly, when someone retires, they need something to do. Many people will retire without the ability to travel or just sit around - when you think of it, people who can go anywhere and do anything have a special name - the rich. Somewhere along the way we accepted the idea that everyone should end up rich, and hopefully by the time they are 55. This is very unlikely.
A permaculture community will need those who know what they are doing, since it is more technical.