The Success of American Communes.Clifford F. Thies [*]
This study analyzes the effect of the structure of communes on their success, using the data of 281 communes started in America from 1683 to 1937. Factors increasing the likelihood of success include (i) being a pietist pi·e·tism
1. Stress on the emotional and personal aspects of religion.
2. Affected or exaggerated piety.
3. religious sect, (ii) inducing commitment as measured by an index of several underlying variables, (iii) allowing some private property, and (iv) with some qualification, having anarchic governance. These results support the prevailing commitment hypothesis. They additionally indicate that communes can increase their likelihood of success by making some concessions to egoistic e·go·ist
1. One devoted to one's own interests and advancement; an egocentric person.
2. An egotist.
3. An adherent of egoism. concerns.
America has a long and varied history of communes. The first ones consisted of religious sects List of religious movements labelled or classified as sects in one of the sociological meanings of the term.
These communes have featured a wide range of purpose and organization. For the religious sects, the purpose was to enable their members to live more holy lives. The purpose was not necessarily to replace the private property system. For the secular socialists, the purpose was specifically to demonstrate the superiority of communal work and living arrangements. Some of these communes have been egalitarian, and others have allowed a measure of private property. Some have been ruled by charismatic and dictatorial leaders, and others have been more or less democratic (in some instances, communes originally formed by authoritarian leaders made a transition to democratic governance). Some have been celibate or (strictly) monogamous, and others have allowed polygamy polygamy: see marriage.
Marriage to more than one spouse at a time. Although the term may also refer to polyandry (marriage to more than one man), it is often used as a synonym for polygyny (marriage to more than one woman), which appears or free love. Some have prohibited alcohol, tobacco, and meat, or required uniformity in dress, or in other ways required special conditions of their members.
These communes have also varied greatly in their success, as measured by either the number of years of their existence, their growth and replication, or their achievement of selfprofessed goals. It is commonly thought that the more successful communes were the religious sects that emphasized traditional virtues in work and family life, and de-emphasized materialism. In his history of communes, John H. Noyes, founder and longtime leader of the Oneida commune, quotes one observer: "That there have been-nay are-decided successes in practical socialism, is undeniable, but they all have that communistic com·mu·nis·tic
Of, characteristic of, or inclined to communism.
commu·nis basis that seems to me irrational and calculated to prove fatal (i.e., are cult religions) ... Theory, however plausible, must respect the facts" ([18701 1966, pp. 137-8). Similarly Charles Nordhoff This article is about the novelist. For the non-fiction author, see Charles Nordhoff (1830-1901).
Charles Bernard Nordhoff (1887 - 1947) was an English-born American novelist and traveler. He often collaborated with James Norman Hall. , a journalist who made a survey of communes in 1874, concludes that for "a commune to exist harmoniously, it must be composed of persons who are of one mind upon some question that to them shall appear so important as to take the place of to be substituted for.
See also: Place religion, if it is not essentially religious ..." ( 1965, p. 387).
Contemporary scholarship affirms these findings. Rosabeth Kantor (1972) argues that the traditional sectarian communes were more successful because they required the most commitment from their members. Robert Fogarty (1980, p. xxiii) says that "successful utopian colonies are usually religious; however, such a fact has never deterred the secular utopians from starting new projects." Hugh Gardner (1978), studying recently formed communes, constructs an index of commitment, including time and financial contribution, communion with other members, renunciation The Abandonment of a right; repudiation; rejection.
The renunciation of a right, power, or privilege involves a total divestment thereof; the right, power, or privilege cannot be transferred to anyone else. of the outside world, and abstinence, and he finds that the more successful communes required greater commitment. John R. Hall (1988) identifies different types of communal groups, including two categories (commune and intentional association) that involve secularist reasoning and three others (ecstatic association, community, and other-worldly sect) that involve emotional and religious underpinnings, and he uses several statistical techniques to determine success, measured by longevity of communal groups. He concludes that "groups that approximated the commune and intentional association ... do not seem to have been able, on average, of resolving such problems (i.e., commitment), and thus were short-lived" (p. 689).
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the economic theory of clubs (Buchanan 1965; Sandler and Tschirhart 1980), if there are public goods (those that the consumption of which cannot be excluded to members of a community), these public goods can be efficiently produced and consumed by self-forming groups of individuals. A potential problem for clubs is free riding, that is, the joining or continued participation of members who do not contribute their fair share and yet who consume the public goods produced by the clubs. The egalitarian distribution of wealth and income, which characterizes communes, poses a severe problem of free riding. Lawrence R. Iannaccone (1992, 1994) argues that requiring commitment through constraints on dress, grooming, sexual conduct, and so on, retards the free-riding problem by screening nonbelievers and helps to bond members together. These seemingly arbitrary impositions on personal conduct may, therefore, serve a useful purpose.
2. A Selective History of American Communes
It is beyond the scope of this study to attempt anything approaching a complete history of American communes.  Nevertheless, it is appropriate to present a selective history so the reader who is not already familiar with the subject can form a concrete idea of these communes.
Beginning in the late seventeenth century, many religious sects have come to this country to establish communes. Perhaps the most successful of the early ones was Ephrata, Pennsylvania Ephrata is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 38 miles (61 km) south east of Harrisburg and about 57 miles (91 km) west by north of Philadelphia. It is named after Ephrath, a biblical town in what is now Israel. , founded in 1732 (Sachse  1970, [1899-1900] 1971). The community was organized by a German Seventh-Day Baptist sect under the leadership of Johann Conrad Beissel Johann Conrad Beissel (March 1, 1691 - July 6, 1768) was the German-born religious leader who in 1732 founded the Ephrata Community in Pennsylvania.
Beissel was born in Eberbach in Germany, and came to Pennsylvania in 1720. . Harassed by local authorities who attempted to enforce the community's Sunday closing laws (or blue laws blue laws, legislation regulating public and private conduct, especially laws relating to Sabbath observance. The term was originally applied to the 17th-century laws of the theocratic New Haven colony, and appears to originate in ) (as Seventh-Day members, they believed that Saturday was the Sabbath), they relocated to an isolated place, where Beissel started a commune of ascetic and celibate brothers and sisters, around which other members of his sect established their farms and businesses. In truth, this community was not completely communistic, but a symbiotic symbiotic /sym·bi·ot·ic/ (sim?bi-ot´ik) associated in symbiosis; living together.
Of, resembling, or relating to symbiosis. relation between a monastic order and the more traditional individualists that the order provided with religious services.
The brothers and sisters of the order lived lives of hard work, physical austerity, and prayer. Dressed in rough woolen wool·en also wool·len
1. Made or consisting of wool.
2. Of or relating to the production or marketing of woolen goods.
Fabric or clothing made from wool. Often used in the plural. habits, they went barefoot whenever possible, and instead of using animals, they pulled their own carts. As a constant reminder that "narrow is the way that leadeth to life," (Matt. 7:14) the hallways of their buildings were only 20 inches wide. The sect was known for its wonderful choir, school, and German-language publishing house. When Beissel died, leadership passed to an elder who was competent and well respected. But over time the order's membership grew increasingly aged, and the commune never recovered from its devastation during the Revolutionary War when it was pressed into service as a field hospital and a typhoid typhoid
or typhoid fever
Acute infectious disease resembling typhus (and distinguished from it only in the 19th century). Salmonella typhi, usually ingested in food or water, multiplies in the intestinal wall and then enters the bloodstream, causing epidemic broke out. Today, a reconstructed cloister cloister, unroofed space forming part of a religious establishment and surrounded by the various buildings or by enclosing walls. Generally, it is provided on all sides with a vaulted passageway consisting of continuous colonnades or arcades opening onto a court. stands in Ephrata, having some of the original buildings of the commune, with guided tours to tell its history.
Another early immigrant religious sect forming a commune was that of George Rapp George Rapp (November 1, 1757 – August 7, 1847) was the founder of the sect called Harmonists, Harmonites or Rappites.
Born in Iptingen, Duchy of Wurttemberg, Germany, Rapp was inspired by the philosophy of Jakob Boehme, who had lived during the 17th century. (Arndt 1965, 1972). In 1805, this German Anabaptist sect migrated to the New World to avoid persecution. First located in Harmony, Pennsylvania For Pennsylvania townships named Harmony, see .
Harmony is a borough in Butler County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 937 at the 2000 census. Geography
Harmony is located at (40.801452, -80. , the group later relocated to Harmony, Indiana Harmony is a town in Clay County, Indiana, United States. The population was 589 at the 2000 census. Geography
Harmony is located at (39.535401, -87.073872)GR1. , and then again relocated to Economy, Pennsylvania Economy is a borough in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 9,363 at the 2000 census. Geography
Economy is located at (40.638466, -80.184891)GR1. . Rapp taught that intercourse was wrong even between husband and wife, and that property was to be held in common, except that members could keep household gardens. In 1817, the group reached 1000 members. After that, the group slowly shrank as the members grew old and died. Following Rapp's death, leadership fell to his adopted son, and following his adopted son's death, to a popularly elected board of trustees board of trustees Politics The posse of thugs who oversee an institution's administration. See Board of directors. . During the early twentieth century, after resolving disposition of the commune's property with an unscrupulous trustee, the state of Pennsylvania dedicated its land and buildings as a historical site.
This sect became known for its orderliness, industry, and thrift, and for its balancing of privacy and simple pleasures with communal living. While other sects employed constant observation and material deprivation to bond members, the Harmony Society Harmony Society, religious society founded by German Separatists under the leadership of George Rapp. The Harmonists (or Rappites) held property in common and subscribed to the austere doctrines of their leader, including that of celibacy. was joined by little more than a deep trust in its leader George Rapp. A sincere and capable man, Rapp remained vigorous to his death at the age of 90, when he, still awaiting the imminent return of Jesus, passed away saying, "If I did not know that the dear Lord meant I should present you all to him, I should think my last moment's come."
In 1787, the first village of the Shakers, perhaps the most successful American-born commune, was formed at Mt. Lebanon, New York
Lebanon is a town in Madison County, New York, United States. The population was 1,329 at the 2000 census. The town is believed to be named after Lebanon, Connecticut. , by Ann Lee
Mother Ann Lee (February 29, 1736 - September 8, 1784) was a member of the Shakers; who, during the 1770s, emigrated from England to Watervliet, New York due to persecution. (or Mother Ann Mother Ann See Lee, Ann. ), cofounder co·found
tr.v. co·found·ed, co·found·ing, co·founds
To establish or found in concert with another or others.
co·found of the Shakers along with Joseph Meacham, who succeeded her and was mostly responsible for the sect's growth. At their height, around 1850, the Shakers grew to perhaps 6000 members, organized into families of 80 to 100, on 18 reservations consisting of one or more families. Friedrich Engels, the cofounder with Karl Marx of state communism, referred to the Shakers as proof that communism would work; however, he argued that "free of such insanities" (i.e., religious beliefs), communism would achieve much greater success (Bester 1950, p. 39). Even as late as 1980, two Shaker villages still remained active, one at Canterbury, New Hampshire Canterbury is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,979 at the 2000 census. Canterbury is home to Ayers State Forest and Shaker State Forest. On the last Saturday in July, the town hosts the annual Canterbury Fair. , and the other at Sabbath-day Lake, Maine, although one of these was clearly in the process of dying out. Other Shaker villages, including the original, are maintained as museums.
Mother Ann was a young girl when her family joined the Shaking Quakers. While in prison for her Shaker activities, she claimed to have had a vision in which the power of God flowed into her. Four years later, following another vision, she migrated with her six followers to the New World, and for some time, they lived together in an isolated part of New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of State.
It was during the post-Revolutionary War religious revival Religious revival may refer to
As expounded by later Shaker theologians, property and marriage were not seen as wrong, but in fact as appropriate for honest people in this world, which they called the lower church. However, Shakers, being in the upper or resurrected church, had no use for these. Nor did Shakers have any use for alcohol or tobacco, and nor did most Shakers have any use for meat. Upon entry into full membership, Shakers were to turn over all property to the commune and sever all external ties. Long after the heyday of Shakerism was over, their villages continued, partly because of the amazing longevity of Shakers, and partly because of their willingness to hire others to work their fields and turn their villages into profitable tourist attractions. Their eventual demise was due not only to the tendency of celibate communes to die out, but also to the growing suspicion of the motives of younger people who seek to join already-established wealthy communes.
In 1874, arguably the most successful experiment in communal living in the world's history began with the first settlement of about 200 Hutterites, in Bon Homme, South Dakota South Dakota (dəkō`tə), state in the N central United States. It is bordered by North Dakota (N), Minnesota and Iowa (E), Nebraska (S), and Wyoming and Montana (W). . As of 1980, there were perhaps 500 Hutterite colonies, with an aggregate population of 50,000, doffing the landscape from Minnesota to Washington in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , as well as the adjoining provinces of Canada. The Hutterite commune is something of an extended family (Baden and Stroup 1972; Baden 1998). In each village, 100-200 people (all related) live in 6 dormitory buildings, having separate apartments for individual families. These dormitories are located about a common kitchen and dining facility. Their lives are simple but not austere, and they are not opposed to using the latest technologies to manage their farms. They particularly enjoy visiting, with either the members of their village or their many relatives in their sister villages.
When Hutterite villages reach about 150 members, they begin preparations for splitting. This involves locating and purchasing a suitable site, constructing the buildings, buying the equipment, and in the year of the move, planting the initial year's crops. Then on the day of the move, everyone packs and the half that moves is drawn by lot from two lists. These lists are organized by the occupations every village needs, for example, business manager and farm boss. Those chosen to move drive to their new home, perhaps one or two hours away, and the other half unpacks. Because of their high birth rate and low defection rate, Hutterite life involves a constant series of such amoeba-like fissions.
The Hutterites, an Anabaptist sect, trace their history to the sixteenth century. They are named in honor of Jacob Hutter Jacob Hutter (or Jakob Hutter) (born 1500, died February 25 1536), was a Tyrolean Anabaptist leader and founder of the Hutterites.
Jacob Hutter was a hat maker from South Tirol (northern Italy today). , one of their first leaders, who was tortured and burned at the stake upon the breakdown of religious tolerance in Moravia. Over the next several centuries, Hutterites migrated across Europe seeking a place to live according to their beliefs, eventually settling in Russia. Then in the mid-nineteenth century, the Russian government became intolerant, conducting pogroms against Jews and other minorities and attempting to regulate people's lives through compulsory education An editor has expressed concern that this article or section is .
Please help improve the article by adding information and sources on neglected viewpoints, or by summarizing and and military conscription conscription, compulsory enrollment of personnel for service in the armed forces. Obligatory service in the armed forces has existed since ancient times in many cultures, including the samurai in Japan, warriors in the Aztec Empire, citizen militiamen in ancient . At this time, the Hutterites decided it was again time to relocate.
For a time, the United States seemed a blessing, and by 1917, the Hutterites grew to 19 settlements, with a population of about 2000. Then with the entry of the United States into World War I, their pacifism pacifism, advocacy of opposition to war through individual or collective action against militarism. Although complete, enduring peace is the goal of all pacifism, the methods of achieving it differ. again invited abuse. When two of their young men were killed while in prison for refusing to serve in the military, all but one of the Hutterite settlements relocated to Canada. Following the war, and the accommodation of their conscientious objector conscientious objector, person who, on the grounds of conscience, resists the authority of the state to compel military service. Such resistance, emerging in time of war, may be based on membership in a pacifistic religious sect, such as the Society of Friends status, Hutterites began again settling in the United States. Even with the matter of military service settled, government regulation of matters such as schooling, employment, and land use have proved a continuing source of conflict with the Hutterite ways. Sympathy for the Hutterites, in recognition of their obvious sincerity, has been their ally in these conflicts.
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many tolerant and secular communes were attempted. Only a few were even moderately successful. Because they are based on the promise of materialistic advantage, they attracted many followers who disdain the sacrifice necessary to eke out eke out
1. to make (a supply) last for a long time by using as little as possible
2. a living in relative self-sufficiency. They also attracted too high a ratio of intellectuals to workers and were troubled by constant infighting in·fight·ing
1. Contentious rivalry or disagreement among members of a group or organization: infighting on the President's staff.
2. Fighting or boxing at close range. .
Robert Owen, a successful businessman from Scotland, was, like many successful businessmen, a social reformer and philanthropist. Among other things, he began various self-help and cooperative enterprises and was involved in legislation regulating the factory system. Owen also entertained himself with secularist and utopian thoughts, gaining huge followings in Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. and America. He rejected all religions and instead desired a spirit of universal charity. He sought a more perfect system of liberty and equality, ending the system of buying cheap and selling dear.
In 1825, following a lecture tour in America, Robert Owen put his more utopian ideas to the test, purchasing the Indiana settlement of George Rapp's group (which was returning to Pennsylvania) and attracting 1000 people to his planned society. The community was beset by difficulties from the start and failed within three years. At least ten other communities were attempted by followers of Robert Owen. All of them quickly folded.
In 1822, Charles Fourier of France presented his idea of small-scale, self-sufficient communities, which he called phalanxes, that were to replace the capitalist system. There were to be exactly 2,985,984 phalanxes, with their capital at Constantinople, from which the world would be ruled by the "omniarch," together with 3 augusts, 12 ceasarinas, 48 empresses, 144 kalifs, and 576 sultans. Within the phalanxes, the wage system was to be replaced by a guaranteed living allowance and a division of profits based on work and capital investment. There would be special incentives for work that nobody wanted to do, although Fourier believed that if work were arranged well, there would be a natural supply equal to every demand. For example, children could be used for cleaning sewers because they "love to wallow wallow
mud bath frequented by pigs, elephants, red deer, hippopotami as a cooling aid. in the muck and play with dirty things." (Taylor 1982, p. 119) Fourier's wild criticisms of the capitalist system proved irresistible to those inclined to radical ideas. In France and America, he gained tremen dous followings, and dozens of phalanxes were organized during the 1840s. Almost all of these attempts failed in one to three years.
The most successful Fourierist colony in America was the North American Phalanx The North American Phalanx (NAP) was a secular Utopian community located in Red Bank, in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The NAP was based on the ideas of Charles Fourier, and lasted from 1841 to 1856. , founded in Monmouth County, New Jersey Monmouth County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Jersey, within the New York metropolitan area. As of the 2000 Census, the population is 615,301. Its county seat is Freehold Borough6. , in 1843. It made major concessions to individualism. Although the colony featured a three-story phalanstery phal·an·ster·y
n. pl. phal·an·ster·ies
a. A self-sustaining cooperative community of the followers of Fourierism. Also called phalanx.
b. The buildings in such a community.
2. , most of its members, the number of which peaked at 150, preferred to live in family homes. The work standard was ten hours a day, with extra pay for additional hours and less attractive work, and with equal pay for men and women. Indeed, women wore a kind of uniform, called bloomers, which was then considered daring, and the group was governed democratically. However, rather than rebuild after a fire, the commune dissolved in 1856.
For a sample of the many other types of communes attempted during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, three more will be discussed: a new age sect, an anarchist, and a socialist commune. In 1851, Thomas L. Harris Thomas Langrell Harris (October 29, 1816 - November 24, 1858) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois.
Born in Norwich, Connecticut, Harris pursued classical studies and was graduated from Washington (now Trinity) College, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1841. He studied law. , founder of the Respirationist sect, was directed by St. Paul St. Paul
as a missionary he fearlessly confronts the “perils of waters, of robbers, in the city, in the wilderness.” [N.T.: II Cor. 11:26]
See : Bravery to locate a commune at Mountain Cove, in what is now West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. , since this was where the Garden of Eden Garden of Eden
Noun 1. Garden of Eden - a beautiful garden where Adam and Eve were placed at the Creation; when they disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were had been located. His sect was known as Respirationist because of his doctrine of internal respiration internal respiration
See tissue respiration. , part of his wider vision encompassing material and spiritual realities, and the great battle that raged between the forces of good and evil in. which he, Harris, played the crucial role. When the commune at Mountain Cove failed, he attempted another, at Wassaic, New York Wassaic, New York is a hamlet in the Town of Amenia, New York in the Dutchess County, New York.
Wassaic is located in southeast New York State and surrounded by the East and West Mountains and along the Tenmile River. ; and then another, at Brocton, Ohio; and, finally, another, at Fountain Grove, California, near Santa Rosa Santa Rosa, city, Argentina
Santa Rosa, city (1991 pop. 80,629), capital of La Pampa prov., central Argentina. It is a modern city and road junction surrounded by a rich agricultural and cattle-raising area. . Among his followers were many women of high social position, including several Japanese women and Lady Oliphant of England. In fact, it was with t hese women's money that Harris was able to organize one after another commune.
Harris' commune was officially celibate, because he advocated only spiritual sex, with fairies and lovers from other planets. Harris himself platonically cohabited in his mansion, separated from the working members of the commune, with only the most holy of his followers, who happened to all be young women. Among these were Queen Lily, love goddess of the spirit world, and Lady Pink Ears, queen of the rabbit fairies. When Lady Oliphant died, her son Laurence, a former member of Parliament, who had joined the commune along with his mother, sued for the return of her money. Although American courts had generally upheld communal agreements, Harris caved in, fearing scandal and, perhaps, charges of bigamy bigamy (bĭ`gəmē), crime of marrying during the continuance of a lawful marriage. Bigamy is not committed if a prior marriage has been terminated by a divorce or a decree of nullity of marriage. , adultery, and statutory rape Sexual intercourse by an adult with a person below a statutorily designated age.
The criminal offense of statutory rape is committed when an adult sexually penetrates a person who, under the law, is incapable of consenting to sex. . Laurence Oliphant See also Laurence Oliphant (1691-1767).
Laurence Oliphant (1829, Cape Town - December 23, 1888, Twickenham), was a British author, international traveller, diplomatist and mystic. thereupon there·up·on
1. Concerning that matter; upon that.
2. Directly following that; forthwith.
3. In consequence of that; therefore. declared himself the Center of the universe and attempted with his mother's money to begin a new commune in Palestine.
In 1851, the American anarchist Josiah Warren Josiah Warren (1798-1874) was an individualist anarchist, inventor, musician, and author in the United States. He is widely regarded to be the first American anarchist, and some regard the periodical he edited in 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist began his most ambitious attempt at communal living, the town of Modem Times on Long Island, in New York State (Wunderlich 1992). The town consisted of 750 acres, of which 90 were set aside for family plots, and involved a number of cooperative enterprises and communal resources. At its peak, Modern Times had a population of 200. Modern Times attracted an odd mix of the avant-garde and the mundane and suffered from a continuing argument between its anarchist and socialist members. The difference between anarchists and socialists in nineteenth century America was subtle. Both were based on suspicion of traditional forms of hierarchy, whether family, religion, private property, banking, or corporations. But whereas the anarchist forswore for·swear also fore·swear
v. for·swore , for·sworn , for·swear·ing, for·swears
a. To renounce or repudiate under oath.
b. To renounce seriously. any form of hierarchy, the socialists were willing to devise new forms of hierarchy (e.g., state socialism 1. A form of socialism, esp. advocated in Germany, which, while retaining the right of private property and the institution of the family and other features of the present form of the state, would intervene by various measures intended to give or maintain equality of opportunity, ) to replace the old.  After Warren left in 1863, the colony gradually lost its anarchist characteristics.
In 1847, a socialist experiment known as Communia was underway in Clayton County, Iowa Clayton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. It was established in 1837 and was named in honor of John M. Clayton, United States Senator from Delaware and later Secretary of State under President Zachary Taylor. As of 2000, the population was 18,678. , which was soon headed by the German communist Wilhelm Weitling Wilhelm Weitling (1808–1871) was important early German communist or socialist. Part of the utopian socialism movement, he was respected by Marx, who broke with him in 1846. , who proposed that it be the first commune of his "arbeiterbund," or workingman's league. Members of his league were promised that in return for their dues, the commune would be their retirement home. After it failed in 1859, at a complete loss, Weitling blamed its failure on the inability to force people to work when property is shared equally. Under communism, he argued that people do not have the liberty to refrain from working. Weitling objected to the folly of majority rule and complained that if women only wouldn't get children, they would be better communists, but children stimulate their egoism egoism (ē`gōĭzəm), in ethics, the doctrine that the ends and motives of human conduct are, or should be, the good of the individual agent. It is opposed to altruism, which holds the criterion of morality to be the welfare of others. . And although his attempt failed, he thought that after at least 50 years of purification by revolution and war, a true communist society could be established.
3. Statistical Description
As can be inferred from this selective history, there has been an enormous variety of communist experiments. Table 1 presents a statistical summary of 283 communes for which sufficient information is available. Okugawa (1980) provided the definitive list of communes, although the author coded their characteristics relying on a wide range of sources. A few comments about these data are in order.
The variable "how began" represents how a commune was started. "Original" means the commune was an attempt at a commune unrelated to a prior commune in this country and includes relocations of communes to this country from overseas. About two-thirds of the communes are categorized as original. "Spin-off" means the commune was organized as a new colony of, a relocation of, or a reorganization of a prior commune. Twenty-eight percent are categorized as spin-offs. "Breakaway" means the commune was organized by disgruntled dis·grun·tle
tr.v. dis·grun·tled, dis·grun·tling, dis·grun·tles
To make discontented.
[dis- + gruntle, to grumble (from Middle English gruntelen; see members of a prior commune. Five percent are categorized as breakaways.
The variable "belief" represents the shared belief system of the members of a commune. "Sectarian" refers to communes that require members to belong to a sectarian religion; 46% of communes were sectarian. Somewhat arbitrarily, these sects are broken into two categories: (i) Pietist sects including Anabaptist, Shaker, Latter-day Saints (or Mormon), and Adventist (38%) and (ii) New Age sects (8%). Tolerant communes allow members to belong to religions of their own choosing or to be nonreligious, communes that are religious but nondenominational non·de·nom·i·na·tion·al
Not restricted to or associated with a religious denomination.
Adj. 1. nondenominational - not restricted to a particular religious denomination; "a nondenominational church" , and the communes that were transcendentalist. Thirty-seven percent were tolerant. Secular communes emphasize being nonreligious. Seventeen percent were secular.
The variable "government" refers to the governance structure of the commune. "Democratic" means that a large number of the members of the commune participate in decision making, whereas "authoritarian" means that one person, not effectively subject to popular election, is the decision maker. About two-thirds of communes were democratic, and three-tenths were authoritarian. A few communes are described as anarchic, meaning that few collective decisions were made, as was the case with the Modern Times commune briefly described above and several single-tax or Georgist communities. 
The variable "property" refers to the distribution of material resources among the members of the commune. "Egalitarian" means that the nonruling members shared equally or according to need in the material resources of the commune. Sixty-two percent of communes were egalitarian. "Private property" means that nonruling members were allowed some private property, such as family gardens. Twenty-five percent had some private property. "Corporate property" means that nonruling members were able to earn more or accumulate additional shares or gain seniority rights according to work effort or tenure and mainly refers to the experiments with reward systems in the Fourierist communes. 'Thirteen percent had some degree of corporate property.
The variable "sex" refers to sexual relations sexual relations
1. Sexual intercourse.
2. Sexual activity between individuals. and by implication family life within the commune. "Monogamous" means a commune featured traditional individualistic families; 72% of communes were monogamous. "Celibate" means a commune forbade sexual relations among members, although it might allow persons who entered the commune as married couples to live in the same home; 20% of communes were celibate. "Polygamous polygamous
as a male or female, having more than one mate. " means a commune allowed polygamous marriages; 3% of communes were polygamous. "Free love" means a commune allowed nonexclusive sexual relations among the members of the commune. These free-love situations required some arrangement for rearing children, for example, by granting sole custody to the birth mother or by granting collective custody to the commune; 4% of communes had free love.
The variable "prohibitions" refers to restrictions on personal choice within the commune; 25% of communes prohibited alcohol, and 9% prohibited meat. Some communes prohibited other substances, such as tobacco, or had dress codes, or other restrictions on personal choice, but these were not coded.
The variable "how ended" refers to how the commune came to an end. About half of them ended after many of the members left more or less suddenly, and whatever the cause, these are called failures. About a quarter of them ended after dwindling dwin·dle
v. dwin·dled, dwin·dling, dwin·dles
To become gradually less until little remains.
To cause to dwindle. See Synonyms at decrease. down to a few members, such as through the dying of the members of a celibate commune; these are called dissolved.
About a quarter ended by relocation to a new place or by reorganization into a new form of community (such as an authoritarian commune being reorganized as a democratic commune). Two of them ended by violent attack, and a small number continued to at least 1984.
4. Determinants of Success
For the purpose of determining the success of a commune, its organizational structure This article has no lead section.
To comply with Wikipedia's lead section guidelines, one should be written. at the time of its founding is considered to be a set of predetermined variables Predetermined variables are variables that were determined prior to the current period. In econometric models this implies that the current period error term is uncorrelated with current and lagged values of the predetermined variable but may be correlated with future values. . It is clear that for the persons joining the commune, the organizational structure was thought at the time of joining to be superior to that of the alternative of individualistic capitalism, and it is clear that enough people were of this opinion to start the commune. Following the start of the commune, its members would discover whether continued membership was still, in their minds, superior. If enough members remained in the commune, it would continue to exist. Accordingly, the term of the commune is a measure of success in the minds of at least a sufficient number of its members to keep the commune viable, except of course in the two cases where the commune ended as a result of violent attack.
To be sure, the immediate cause of the end of a commune could be a bad luck event such as a fire. It can be presumed that if the members of a commune really considered their commune preferable to individualistic capitalism, they would choose to reconstruct their commune after such a bad luck event. It can also be presumed that the members of certain communes would find it preferable to continue in their communes once they are underway, but not to reconstruct them after a bad luck event. These communes would not be so bad as to fail soon after getting underway but would eventually fail, and they would have an essentially random term. To some extent, the error term in the regressions presented below can be interpreted as due to the random distribution of bad luck events over time.
The term of the commune can be considered a continuous variable, for example, the number of years of existence, or to be a dichotomous di·chot·o·mous
1. Divided or dividing into two parts or classifications.
2. Characterized by dichotomy.
di·chot variable, for example, did the commune last for at least so many years? Table 2 presents regression analyses based on these two concepts, using the data of the 281 communes not ended by violent attack. In the first three columns, the dependent variable is continuous and equal to term/15 up to a maximum of 1. Implicitly, lasting for at least 15 years is considered a complete success. In addition, among communes lasting less than 15 years, lasting longer is considered more (but less than fully) successful.
Column 1 presents the regression with the entire complement of explanatory variables. The results are quite satisfactory, with several highly significant explanatory variables and a high adjusted [R.sup.2] for this kind of regression. Highly significant variables include "Pietist sect," "celibate," "private property," "anarchic governance," and "spin-off beginning," each of which has a positive effect on the success of the commune, and "breakaway beginning," which has a negative effect. The positive influences of "Pietist sect" and "celibate" confirm prior opinion; however, the positive influence of "anarchic governance" and "private property," and the insignificance in·sig·nif·i·cance
The quality or state of being insignificant.
Noun 1. insignificance - the quality of having little or no significance
unimportance - the quality of not being important or worthy of note of "immigrant," "authoritarian governance," and the two prohibition variables are curious. Column 2 presents the regression of column 1 with insignificant variables removed. The results are essentially the same.
The results presented in column 2 indicate that the typical secular commune, with egalitarian distribution of the wealth and with either democratic or authoritarian governance, would have an expected term of 3.5 years. In contrast, a commune formed by a celibate, Pietist sect, having an egalitarian distribution of wealth, would have an expected term of 11 years, and if it had allowed some private property, it would have an expected term of at least 15 years.
As was noted above, the insignificance of "immigrant," "authoritarian governance," and the two prohibition variables is curious. According to the commitment hypothesis, these characteristics, along with "celibate," should increase the likelihood of success of a commune. Accordingly, an index of commitment is constructed, equal to the square of (2*celibate + immigrant + authoritarian + alcohol prohibition + meat prohibition/6. This index ranges from zero to one and is constructed in a way that presumes that commitment factors have diminishing marginal productivity.  Column 3 presents the results of a regression in which this variable is substituted for "celibate" and is otherwise similar to those reported in column 2. The results indicate that although the commitment variables other than "celibate" are individually insignificant, they contribute to a highly significant index.
The last three columns of Table 2 present probit In probability theory and statistics, the probit function is the inverse cumulative distribution function (CDF), or quantile function associated with the standard normal distribution. regressions in which the dependent variable is a dichotomous variable indicating whether the commune lasted at least ten years. Otherwise, columns 4 to 6 are completely analogous to columns 1 to 3. In column 4, just as in column 1, the highly significant explanatory variables having a positive influence are "Pietist sect," "celibate," "private property," "anarchic governance," and "spin-off beginning," and the variable having a negative influence is "breakaway beginning."
The results presented in column 5 indicate that the typical secular commune, with egalitarian distribution of the wealth and with either democratic or authoritarian governance, would have a probability of success of 11.5%. In contrast, a commune formed by a celibate, Pietist sect, having an egalitarian distribution of wealth, would have a probability of success of 74.5%, and if it had allowed some private property, it would have a probability of success of 90.2%.
At this point, some comments are in order concerning the variable "anarchic." First of all, only six of the communes are categorized as anarchic; so any findings concerning them must be considered at least somewhat anecdotal. Nevertheless, the large, positive coefficients on this variable indicate that the anarchic communes were quite successful, and compared to the other secular communes, they were indeed. However, if we were to change the definition of
success in the probit regressions, from having a term of at least 10 years to having a term of at least 20 years, the variable loses significance. Although the average anarchic commune lasted considerably longer than the average secular commune, only 1 of the 6 lasted more than 20 years.
Table 3 adjusts the measure of success so as to take into account whether the abbreviated life of a commune was due to something other than a failure, for example, to a reorganization or a relocation. In column 1 of Table 3, otherwise analogous to column 3 of Table 1, the dependent variable for communes that end by failure equals 1 if term is greater than or equal to 15, it equals (term - 5)/10 if term is at least equal to 5 and less than 15, and it equals 0 if term is less than 5. For communes that end other than by failure, the dependent variable equals 1 if term is greater than or equal to 10, and it equals term/10 if term is less than 10.
Thus, communes that last at least 10 years and end other than by failure are considered to be a success, just as would any commune that lasted at least 15 years. Ending other than by failure effectively adds five years to the term of the commune as far as this measure of success is concerned.
In column 2 of Table 3, otherwise analogous to column 6 of Table 1, the dependent variable is equal to 1 if term is greater than or equal to 10 or if the commune ended by failure term is greater than or equal to 5, and it is otherwise equal to zero. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , communes that last at least five years and end other than by failure, in addition to all communes that last at least ten years, are considered to be a success.
The results presented in Table 3 are generally consistent with those presented in Table 2. In particular, the highly significant explanatory variables having a positive influence are "Pietist sect," "index of commitment," "private property," "anarchic governance," and "spin-off beginning," and that having a negative influence is "breakaway beginning."
Using multiple regression Multiple regression
The estimated relationship between a dependent variable and more than one explanatory variable. techniques and several definitions of success, the communes of Pietist sects are found to have a substantially higher probability of success than communes having New Age, tolerant, and secular belief systems. This is as expected given the opinions of historical observers and contemporary scholarship. Characteristics that could be interpreted as involving commitment, including immigrant status, authoritarian governance, and prohibitions of alcohol and meat, were not found individually to increase the probability of success, although celibacy was found individually to increase the probability of success. However, when these variables were incorporated into an index of commitment, they were found collectively to increase the probability of success.
The most informative results of this study concern the positive effects of allowing at least some private property and having an anarchic governance structure (relative to authoritarian and democratic governance). These results appear to contradict the commitment hypothesis, because they allow personal autonomy and individualistic marriage and family life. It should be noted that many of the successful communes of Pietist sects allowed some private property, such as household gardens, allowed individual marriage and family life, and in other ways made concessions to egoistic concerns. A word of caution is in order regarding anarchic governance because only six communes were so characterized, and it was not found to be significant when success was defined as lasting at least 20 years (as opposed to lasting at least 10 years).
Of course, it might be argued that planned communities that allow personal autonomy and individualistic families, private property, and specialization and trade in the greater outside economy do not qualify as communes, but they are merely clubs, and in a sense, this argument is correct. Such planned communities are not radical alternatives to the liberal, democratic capitalist system. Indeed, instead of being a "third way" between state-communism and capitalism, they are merely one of the many ways in which people can pursue happiness in a free society.
(*.) Shenandoah University, 1460 University Drive, Winchester, VA 22601, USA; E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author thanks P. J. Hill, J. Wilson Mixon, and an anonymous referee. A prior version of this paper was presented at the 1999 meeting of the Association of Private Enterprise Education.
(1.) For anthologies of the communes covered in this study, see Noyes ( 1966), Nordhoff ( 1965), Hinds ( 1974), Kent (1901), Wooster ( 1971), Bester (1950), Egbert and Persons (1952), Hines ( 1966), Webber (1959), Pease and Pease (1963), Holloway (1966), Weinburg and Weinburg (1968), Fogarty (1973, 1980), Veysey (1973), LeWarne (1975), Hayden (1976, 1979), Oved (1988), and Miller (1990); in addition, book-length histories can be found for many of these communes,
(2.) For more on nineteenth-century American anarchists, see Martin (1953), Schuster (1970), and Silverman (1970).
(3.) For example, Fairhope (Alyea and Alyea 1956).
(4.) In preliminary work, an index of commitment that did not double-weight "celibate" was entered into the regression along with "celibate." The presence of this index drove "celibate" to insignificance. Double-weighting "celibate" was then found to improve the performance of the index.
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