The meeting that gizer
organized last Saturday didn't end up being much. She and I were there, as well as two other people whose names I can't recall, and John and Mike from the Greenbriar Collective. None of them seemed terribly interested in actually starting an intentional community, but they were interested enough to talk about it.
The chief conclusion that we came to is that we need to start smaller than that. Specifically, before jumping into buying property, we should get ourselves organized, and work out a system for living together. That is, work on the community as a group of people, rather than a specific place. So we should find a house and rent it, maybe starting in January, when tank182
is back in Norman. (This would also be an excellent opportunity for a Dark Party.)
We've also been talking a lot about the profit vs. non-profit issue, and it's our feeling now that "profit" is the way to go. In this sort of model, the co-op is a corporation, in which all members own stock. Each person would have to pay dues each month, which would be calculated to be enough to pay for all services that the co-op provides, such as housing, utilities, repairs, at least some food, and also operational expenses like bookkeeping. If people do things to help provide these services, their dues are credited respectively. So people who provide food get the value of the food deduct4ed, people who do administrative work get the value of the work deducted, people who provide repairs get the value of the repairs deducted, etc. In addition, everyone must buy at least one share of stock per month. For the sake of our discussion, we've been saying that a share initially costs $10. That money goes into the co-op's bank account, where it will accrue a bit of interest and can be used for projects which will not diminish its value. That is, once enough has accrued, we could use it for a down payment on a house. Or, before that, we could spend it as start-up costs for some sort of fund-raising. Ideally, what this means is that the price of a share is slowly going up, or at least not down. If the shares should gain value fast enough to reach $20, they would be subdivided, so that a share once again costs $10, but everyone who already owns shares now owns twice as many. This stops the monthly requirement from getting out of hand. When someone wants to leave, they sell all their shares back to the co-op (or to another member), and get all their money back. If someone else wants to join, they just start paying dues and buying shares.
We've also talked about built-in mechanisms to equalize the number of shares, because it's ideal for all members to have equal numbers of shares.
Who might be interested in getting started in January? What do all concerned parties think about the economic scheme?