Community Cohesion


A cohesive community is one in which the people can work together as equals.

Community economic development is the most promising alternative to domination by global corporate forces. When people work together to meet local needs, they take control of their lives. From growing and distributing food to producing energy, from community banking to building co-ops, community based activities require that people get along. When any group takes unfair advantage of another, the effectiveness of working together diminishes. Large inequities can lead to destructive conflict.

People need each other:
In his book "The Frontiers of Being" Duncan Blewett identifies what he calls the 'Law of Feeling'; whenever someone does something selflessly for someone else, they feel better about themselves and consequently about the world.

This is a very real part of the human character. People need ways to contribute to others so they can feel good about receiving. For want of enough 'money economy' type jobs to go around, volunteer work in the community should provide this feeling of self-worth. Unfortunately, with the present fixation on measuring everything by the money that changes hands, voluntary work is made to seem insufficient. It seems particularly so when people who may be eager to help have to constantly worry about food and shelter.

"Many hands make light work"
A large project can seem impossible until others come along to help. Even beyond the additional effort that more people provide, mutual support and friendships are key to success. Working together can turn drudgery into an exhilarating pastime.

As surely as cyclic material use is essential to sustainability, so to are good social relations. Sustainability recognizes the need to nurture communities. Economic expansion too often fails to see the net gain that comes from managing wealth to reduce inequities and encourage local ownership. The two perspectives likely hold different views on paying home makers to raise the next generation so they can receive and manage the world we pass to them.