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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Participatory Budgeting in an Income-Sharing Community

Sharing income among a hundred people is a formidable challenge. At Twin Oaks Community, the combination of income-sharing and egalitarianism forms the core of community identity. About 90 adult members and over a dozen children live together on our rural farm in Virginia that is Twin Oaks. All of the money we make we share, not by dividing it up evenly, but rather by using our collective resources to meet the individual needs of all members. It is the combination of sharing our resources and having a fair say in how those resources are used that brings community cohesion and a shared direction. But it is a logistical headache and often a political nightmare to work out how exactly to allocate these shared resources. A couple years into my membership at Twin Oaks, I joined the economic planning team just in time for a revamp of our community budgeting process. The decades-old process was ailing, suffering from a lack of participation and impact of individual voters. Many members felt that their vote did not make a difference. After several years of trial and error, twists and turns, arguments and animosity, pizza parties and free cookies, we are finally settling on something that works well.

Read the rest at the Foundation for Intentional Community


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