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29 August 2017
Community vs. Communism
Truly rational people understand and value the importance of being a part of a resilient community. The community is where we find comfort, protection, and support in difficult times.
People may think that as long as they completed the first five components of a resilient plan B accurately, they are set to live happily ever after. Of course, that is a possibility, but those who manage to set up all of that in a good neighborhood will always be in a better shape assuming that they will maintain a friendly relationship with their neighbors.
It's a well-known fact that some of the greatest social tragedies of our time are loneliness and isolation. That is why communities are essential for a satisfied life.
However, we have to be careful; there are many examples of self-sufficient communities that started with great ideas and intentions in mind and end up in the misery of failed communism.
Does it mean that those people who were involved were unqualified to build something that would work? I don't think so... I was studying this aspect very carefully, trying to understand what is happening to some of those communities and why often good people that have good intentions come to a bitter end.
It is critical to comprehend the dynamics of relationship development in those situations and what the common mistakes are.
Here is what happens often... A group of great people comes together trying to build a great community, and all of them want to contribute. They all have high expectations, and in the beginning, things work fairly good.
Eventually, more and more frictions between people break them apart, and at the end, the excellent idea of a community collapses. They don't understand that they failed because they tried to build a community implementing ideas of communism.
If we use history as a guide, we should know it by now that communism does not work and never will.
Once I read an article about an economics professor that demonstrated to his students that socialism is not a good option to build a prosperous society. Some of his students insisted that socialism is an excellent idea that works as a great equalizer, preventing some from becoming too rich but helping others to stay out of poverty.
In response, the professor offered an experiment. The deal was that everyone's grades would be averaged and everyone would get the same grade to create an environment where no one would fail.
After the first test, the average grade was calculated, and everyone got a B, leaving hard working students upset and others happy.
When the time came for the second test, those who studied little before made even less effort.
It is hard to fool people twice in the row... Hard working students also wanted to catch a free ride this time, so they studied less too. Surprisingly to all, the second test average was a D!
The third test was a wakeup call, leaving nothing but shattered hopes behind. The average was an F, resulting in blame, hard feelings, and name calling.
Similar things happen in communities. Naturally, even hard working people can not consistently work hard for the benefit of everybody else. Especially in cases when they see someone who wants to have a free ride.
Communities are essential for a satisfied life, and people have a deep rooted need to develop a friendly relationship, to work together, help and interact with each other. Building a resilient community requires enjoying quality time together, having shared values, respecting each other and combining work and play.
Those who want to contribute to the community should always have an option to volunteer and share their unique experiences, but the structure of the community should not ever rely on volunteer work. It's a very slippery slope with "sounds very good" idea behind it that always leads to destruction.
A properly set up community must have:
1. Very well defined and strong CC&R's that protect rights of its residents.
2. Small HOA board of directors.
3. Professional management to implement directions from HOA.
4. Specific job positions for all of the work in the community.
5. An accountant, delivering regular P&L reports to both, management and HOA.
Like Marcus Lemonis from my favorite reality show "The Profit" likes to say: good business consists of three "P's": People, Process, and Product. This is so true... I have seen many times when good people failed in business because of a broken process.
McDonald's offering one of the unhealthiest product in the food industry operating with an excellent process in place and being run by mostly teenagers. It seems like they are not going out of business anytime soon...
A community is just like any other business that needs a right process in place. If that is in place life in that community will become much more pleasurable.