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Austerity and Unintended Riches

What are the social and psychological sources of social movements that are committed to (1) equality among their members, (2) communitarian ideals emphasizing strong ties of affection among members and a belief in spontaneous cooperation without direction by authority, and (3) austerity in the consumption of physical goods and also in the use or display of comforts and ornaments? In the course of time what becomes of such a movement as it tries to put its ideals into practice? Many but not all of those that have lasted—and I shall limit this inquiry to examples that have lasted for at least several generations1—have become quite wealthy. How and why does this change come about, and what are its consequences?

Such movements have appeared several times in human history. One may follow their development in accounts of monastic groups in both Europe and Asia, in reports of the growth of the Quakers, and, with much more illuminating detail, in the history of the Israeli kibbutz. Because the kibbutz is an especially revealing contemporary case, it will receive a disproportionate amount of attention.

To begin the inquiry we must try to understand how and why a commitment to equality, communitarian ideals, and austerity can become established in the first place, and the emotional forces behind this commitment. The chief cause is a rejection of the system of inequality prevailing in the larger society. The existing distribution of material goods and social esteem appears to be immoral and unjust and to represent a form of moral decay as well as a decline from older and purer ideals. In preindustrial times religion was the vehicle for this criticism. Among the heretical movements in Europe of the later Middle Ages, the notions of equality, community, and austerity were in large measure an attempt to return to primitive Christianity in opposition to the growing secular power and wealth of the Catholic Church. With the beginnings of commerce in the tenth century and later, European society also began to display new as well as threatening forms of inequality. The development was somewhat different under Buddhism. There, monasticism began as an attempt to give collective and institutional form to the Buddha’s ideals of withdrawal from the secular world and renunciation of worldly goods and pleasures. From the beginning, however, Buddhism rejected asceticism as too extreme as well as ineffective. Buddhist renunciation carried strong overtones of equality and human brotherhood, especially in the context of the Hindu caste system.2

Even the original commitment behind the kibbutz movement had strong religious and quasi-religious elements. In the biggest and most influential branch of the movement this commitment was an uneasy mixture of Zionism and Marxism. The Jews were to prove they did not have to be a “parasitic” people limited to commerce, often petty commerce, and sedentary clerical occupations. They would demonstrate that they could work with their hands, make the desert bloom, become a new rural proletariat, and, by breaking the capitalist link between income and social esteem, create a new form of human society.3

The Israeli kibbutz shows some modern traits insofar as many of its early leaders thought of themselves as guiding a movement that could take over and change the world. Quakers, too, may have had some such hopes, though modern literature by and about Quakers has little to say about this trait. In practice the modern movements soon came to embody a form of individual or at most group salvation without any attempt to change human society as a whole or, more precisely, without any attempt beyond personal example. On this score, movements for equality, community, and austerity differ sharply from Marxist movements. The latter put nearly all their energies into trying to change human society as a whole, while treating the search for personal or small-group salvation as moral and political evasion. Yet, where communists have come to power, we can observe the same kind of dissolution of the original ideals that we find when groups committed to equality, community, and austerity discover that their virtues lead to increasing wealth.

The sources of austerity, which in some instances becomes asceticism complete with a panoply of self-inflicted sufferings, deserve separate comment, if only because such behavior contradicts so many current assumptions about human nature. For the ascetic, to take the more extreme form as the best illustration, the Benthamite pleasure-pain calculus is reversed. The ascetic avoids pleasure and seeks pain. Ostensibly this is a form of moral calisthenics in preparation for a religious goal. The reversal is understandable as a response to living in a world of scarcity where existing privileges are defined as unjust. In addition it makes very good sense to reduce desires in order to cope with scarcity. If meat is scarce, one makes a virtue of going without meat. Simultaneously one can feel at least morally superior to those who do eat meat. The more things one can go without, the more morally superior one feels, and the more time one has to pursue virtue and holiness instead of material goods that merely tempt the body to destroy the soul.

In such attitudes it is easy to see a touch of thinly coated envy. To reject pomp, circumstance, and man-made beauty in all of its artistic forms is also to reject the prevailing system of privilege and its symbolism. With the rejection of art there can, on the other hand, exist a keenly sensitive awareness of natural beauty. St. Francis, it is sometimes claimed, opened Western eyes to the beauty of nature for the first time in our history. The ethical objection to the joy of art is not limited to that found in decoration, gold, and silver. It extends also to the coarser physical pleasures of indulgence in food, drink, and sex. Food and drink were primarily upper-class pleasures in a preindustrial society of widespread scarcity.

Not all of these austere and ascetic sentiments were or are a form of class resentment, a way of making oneself different from people one envied yet despised. They stem also from a widespread fear of tempting fate or of arousing the envy of the gods by the appearance of having too much good luck or undue prosperity. Such fear is also understandable in an age of insecurity and catastrophic natural and man-made disasters, along with continuous grinding scarcity for the mass of the population.

At this point in the analysis our next question becomes, How and why did groups of people committed to the ideals of equality, community, and austerity—indeed outright poverty in some instances—obtain substantial and sometimes great wealth? In searching for an answer it is helpful to recall that there are only three possible ways for an individual or a group to increase its store of wealth. One is by taking it away forcibly from other people, or, more bluntly, stealing. The second way, often hard to distinguish from the first, is to accept the wealth as a gift in return for allegedly valuable services rendered, such as increasing the donor’s prospects for salvation. The third way is for the group to produce more wealth on its own. In this case the increase will be even greater if those who produce goods and services are able to exchange them with members of the larger society.

The second method, the soliciting of donations, has been a major source of the wealth of some Western monasteries (particularly of the Cistercian) as well as of Buddhist monasteries—from the beginning of their existence. Donations have also been very important for the kibbutz. The Israeli government and the foreign Jewish community, especially Jews in the United States, have provided a large portion of the capital necessary for the kibbutzim to establish themselves and function.4

The essential elements in a donation are these. Ordinarily donors are wealthy and highly placed individuals, great lords, important political officials, and, especially in the case of Buddhist monasteries, prosperous merchant laymen. Land and/or capital, sometimes in the form of treasure, are what they give to the monastery or the kibbutz. Sometimes by explicit agreement, but more often by tacit understanding, donors receive in return an improvement in their chances of salvation. Conceptions of salvation of course vary historically. That of the kibbutz is not the same as that of a Buddhist monastery, and Buddhist salvation, an end to the soul’s migration from one unpleasant existence to another, is very far from any Christian idea. Yet despite the doctrinal differences there are institutional similarities that are more significant for the purposes at hand.

Organized groups committed to equality, community, and austerity are perceived as professionals in the attainment of virtue and, through virtue, of salvation itself. By perceiving and defining them this way, the rest of society reduces the felt need to practice forms of virtue that may be sociologically as well as psychologically impossible on any mass scale. It is of course not enough just to define the professional in virtue this way. One has to pay them with grants of property. The greater the guilt, the bigger the payments and—in time—the wealthier the professional practitioners of virtue are likely to become. To take root and flourish, a critical morality requires a high volume of felt sin.

Outside sources of wealth in the form of donations and subsidies made an important economic contribution to the survival of these deviant and critical groups, with the possible exception of the Quakers, who seem to have pulled themselves up by their own economic bootstraps. Such donations reflect widespread interest and support among the wealthy and not-so-wealthy members of the surrounding society. Donors wanted to have a professionally virtuous group able to produce and distribute salvation, or at least to talk about it in edifying terms. (In present-day society a great deal of what goes by the name of social science serves a similar edifying purpose.)

Chinese Buddhists were almost entirely dependent on munificent donations. We hear very little about independent economic activity by these monks. To be sure monasteries were frequently located on the unfertile tops of hills and mountains above alluvial valleys where peasant swarms grew China’s food. On these elevations the monks often cleared the land to grow orchards and decorative gardens. Economically, such efforts were more than nothing, but not a great deal.5 In European monasteries and in modern times among the Quakers, as well as in the kibbutz, the religious commitment also led to a strong emphasis on productive labor that in the course of time, and with significant doctrinal and organizational changes, generated very noticeable prosperity. In other words, the latter groups chose to emphasize the third route to wealth, producing many goods and services on their own.

The beginning point in the process of creating and accumulating wealth was plain hard work. Looking ahead, we shall see that the process as a whole generated the principal capitalist talents—or vices depending on one’s point of view. But for now let us stick to work. At first the hard work of clearing ground and planting crops was done out of idealism and to serve the new collective, usually set in a remote locality. Another motive was clearly sheer survival, and it is impossible to separate the two motives during the early stage. Very soon, however, hard labor was pushed off onto a stratum of laborers controlled by the collective. The Cistercians used the labor of their lay brothers, apparently without qualms of conscience.6 For the kibbutz the problem was more difficult. Their Marxism made many members reject the use of hired labor as unavoidably exploitative. Even today this is a sore point among many kibbutzniks. But these scruples were overcome by economic necessity and widespread demand from the larger Israeli society that kibbutzim do something to provide jobs for the flood of Jewish immigrants after World War II. The result was to create a large underclass of immigrant laborers employed by the kibbutzim, usually for jobs in small factories. Though it is claimed that these workers were well treated, they were not allowed to become part of the kibbutz community. Thus the ideal of equality underwent severe erosion.7

As work yielded greater fruits and more land, and other capital resources became available for the application of labor, the need arose for managerial talents. Two functions of management became important. One was the administrative supervision of labor. It was imperative to make sure that the right job was done at the right time in the right way in order to maximize production while holding down costs. This was the productive function of management. The other was to find market outlets for some of the products of the collective.

The Cistercians developed both functions to a high degree. Their outstanding success as cultivators came about during the twelfth century. It was due not only to the acquisition of large amounts of land and the employment of large numbers of laborers, but also to good planning and effective administration.8 Under the traditional manorial system, large feudal estates were isolated and virtually independent units. Serfs, handicapped by outdated customs and numerous dues and obligations, were left to their own devices with no large-scale planning or direction. The absentee lord was interested mainly in the collection of customary revenues. To all these practices the Cistercian agrarian system came to present a very sharp contrast. Cistercians worked for themselves, knowing that their faith and life itself depended on the success of their efforts. No matter how many grants of land they received, their total holdings remained under the control of the abbot. Each newly acquired piece of land received individual attention in order to make the best use of its potentialities. In order to manage their extensive holdings the Cistercians developed a system of granges or enclosed units. When the estates had grown too large to be exploited as unbroken units they were divided into parcels of about four to five hundred acres. Then open fields were enclosed, and a few simple buildings put up to house lay brothers, farm animals, and equipment. According to the original rules granges were not to be more than a day’s walking distance from the abbey.9 Even if this rule was not strictly enforced, the system of granges obviously extended the abbot-manager’s power in space and intensified his control over daily agricultural operations at the same time.

With the help of these new methods the Cistercians won a distinguished reputation for land reclamation, especially in England. Around 1188 one of their sharpest critics asserted, “Give these monks a naked moor or a wild wood; then let a few years pass away and you will find not only beautiful Churches, but dwellings of men built around them.”10 Thus even their enemies conceded that the Cistercians’ managerial skills were adding to the medieval output of goods and services.

A great deal of the monks’ managerial talent must have gone into locating market outlets. This happens to be especially clear in the case of wine. It is worth noting in this connection that originally monastic rules urged the houses to become economically self-sufficient so that there would be no excuse for trade with outsiders and its attendant distractions and temptations. To the Cistercians, however, a prohibition on trade soon looked like a condemnation to near-starvation and a zero growth rate for the order. Hence the prohibition on trade was soon relaxed.11

The choice of wine as an object of trade may have been fortuitous. Founded in 1098 at Cîteaux, the Cistercian order had soon acquired many lands that turned out to be capable of producing some of Europe’s finest wines. They included the areas producing Meursault, at least two famous red wines of Burgundy, and a series from the Rhine and Moselle regions. Cîteaux became the foremost producer of quality wine in France, a position it kept until the French Revolution. In the Rhine and Moselle areas the sale of wine always formed the monks’ best source of cash income.12 Wool may have been an even more important item of Cistercian trade in the early days, though there is less information about it. The Cistercians concentrated on producing a very high quality of wool.13

With high-quality wool and high-quality wine Cistercian managers would not have needed to put much energy or attention on finding and exploring new markets. The markets were there and waiting. What the Cistercians did have to do was to overcome political and technological barriers to getting their goods to market. In the case of wool they had considerable trouble with lay competitors. On the other hand, the commercialization of the Cistercian economy gained speed from their exemptions from taxes and from the ever-present tolls for shipping goods over long distances.14

The Cistercians seem to have regarded the acquisition of riches as a morally unfortunate necessity. Whatever their motives, the results for their reputation are clear. It is too much to claim, in the words of one distinguished authority, that their “accrued wealth robbed the order of all spiritual power.”15 However, powerful contemporaries expressed views not far short of this judgment. In the 1160s the order faced a crisis of prosperity. There was far-reaching criticism of allegedly greedy and grasping abbots and of a pervading spirit of cupidity incompatible with the original ideals of poverty and austerity. In 1169 Pope Alexander III, a great friend of the Cistercians, found it necessary to address a sharply worded warning to the order’s General Chapter. It charged that the order had relinquished its “original institutions” and that “those who had vowed to abandon the world and clad in the garments of poverty had decided to serve God, now engage themselves in secular pursuits.” In 1214 Innocent III repeated Alexander’s charges and his “fear of the imminent ruin” of the order.16 Even if the tone of the complaints indicates envy as their basis, it is plain that at least the officers of the order engaged in high living. In 1135 the pope had still insisted on simplicity in food and clothing—an insistence which suggests that simplicity was hardly universal—while in some cases providing for abbots and their company a general dispensation from abstinence.17 For those who could share in it, Cistercian high living was not a source of moral complaint. There were also quite a few who insisted on their share. In 1372 a pope graciously acknowledged thirty casks of fine Cistercian wines. The free flow of Burgundian wines made the annual banquets at Cîteaux in honor of neighboring bishops and clergy very popular. The banquets were also expensive. When in 1364 the Cistercians for financial reasons did not issue the usual invitations, the disappointed clergymen turned to the pope. The pope replied that “these ‘meals of charity’ had become ‘too sumptuous’” and that Cîteaux was justified in holding them only every fourth year.18

Thus important products of Cistercian assiduity, managerial talent, and some sharp business practices were good food and excellent wines. These amenities and luxuries served, as they do just about everywhere, to lubricate the machinery of rule, making agreements easier and thereby enabling the machinery to run with somewhat fewer squeaks, creaks, and breakdowns.

Looking back now at the ways in which these deviant and critical groups became wealthy, we can see that the commitment to equality, community, and austerity was in itself a source of the sustained and often intense effort that led to higher productivity and eventually to wealth. Virtue may have not only its own rewards but also some unintended ones. Hard work, however, was not enough—managerial talent also had to be found, with perhaps a touch of unscrupulousness. Administrative experience in running a monastery seems to have been useful in that connection. Finally, as professionals in the pursuit of a virtue admired and even feared in the wider society, these groups could extract substantial amounts of material support from the wealthier elements in the surrounding society. Let us now examine the extent to which other cases resemble and differ from the Cistercian “model.”

The Buddhist monasteries do not require extended discussion. The main difference from the Cistercians was that nearly all Buddhist wealth came from the outside in the form of donations whereas the Cistercians managed to generate substantial wealth with their own resources. But the effects were broadly similar in both cases: a serious undermining of the commitment to equality, community, and austerity. The original Ten Precepts of Buddhism include the promise to refrain from accepting gold and silver. Strictly speaking a monk might own only eight “requisites”: three robes, a waist-cloth, an alms-bowl, a razor, a needle, and a cloth to strain his drinking water to save the lives of animalcula it might contain. In fact he came to own much more by the convenient fiction that his property belonged to the order, from which he had it on loan.19 One good source claims that the conversion of the Indian king Aśoka (died ca. 225 B.C.) to Buddhism hastened its decline. The conversion helped to produce a large number of converts. The day of compromise had come, and every relaxation of the old strict morality was welcomed by these converts only half converted.20 By the time Buddhism had taken firm hold in China in the fifth century after Christ,21 the old Indian rules against commercial activities were scarcely respected any more. The usual evasion was to turn over precious metals to lay individuals so that they might buy objects of primary necessity for the monks. Or the monks might set the metals aside for use as profitable loans.22 As early as 558 a Chinese author, apparently himself a Buddhist monk, wrote a detailed report about the “wickedness of the monks and the general decline of religious morality.” In educated circles there was always a sense that Buddhism was “rich in worldly goods and had a large following, but it was not succeeding in its own terms as a religion.”23

It is quite clear that Buddhist monasteries became wealthy despite early ethical prohibitions and that the early austere morality largely died out. But it is by no means so clear that wealth was what weakened the monasteries, at least not directly. Instead, the monks antagonized the rulers by competing with them for resources and for power. For doing that the monks were to pay dearly.24

Turning to more recent times, we see that the Quakers traveled the same route as the Cistercians: from equality, community, and austerity to prosperity—and again with similar results.25 The Quakers differed from the Cistercians in at least two ways. First of all, the situation in the surrounding society during the industrial revolution and under advancing capitalism in the nineteenth century was very different from that faced by the Cistercians in the twelfth century. For reasons to be mentioned shortly, the Quakers soon found themselves doing what a great many other enterprising individuals were doing: making money in industry and commerce and gaining thereby social approval. As a people engaged in esteemed behavior and doing very well at it, the Quakers lost a great deal of their cultural and even moral distinctiveness.26

Unlike the Cistercians, the Quakers swam with the current of the larger society to the point where capitalist England absorbed them. To use the metaphor a bit more precisely, the Quakers were forced into the part of the current that was moving most rapidly. Until well into the nineteenth century industry and commerce were the main occupations open to the Quakers. Because of their refusal to swear oaths to (the Anglican) church and state, they could not attend the universities. Hence their religious beliefs barred them from the law and the church offices, the main professions of the day. Only science, medicine, and of course business required no oaths, but very few early Quakers chose science or medicine.27

The second difference from the Cistercians concerns certain ambiguities and ambivalences in the Quaker attitude toward austerity and money making that were very important in easing acceptance by the new capitalist society. For the Quakers, unlike the Cistercians, advancing prosperity brought only mild moral conflicts within the order and certainly nothing like the reprimands the Cistercians received from even a sympathetic pope. Though the Quakers set great store by frugality, plain living, and hard work, a major current of opinion among them saw nothing evil in the accumulation of wealth. “By no means did they consider money to be objectionable,” asserts one authority; “on the contrary—made rightly and spent rightly money was from every point of view, of the greatest value and usefulness.”28 “Made righdy” meant of course honestly and without taking advantage of a customer, especially of a customer’s ignorance. However, there are hints in the literature that in real life Quakers often felt a conflict between their ethics and the familiar adage that business is business.29 “Spent righdy” meant in effect the avoidance of lavish display, and perhaps also putting aside an adequate proportion of one’s income for good works.

Not all Quakers professed such an easy conscience about money. Thomas Shillitoe (1754–1836) and John Barclay (1797–1838) “deplored the spread of wealth in the society and its gradual assimilation to ‘the World.’” Shillitoe is described as a shoemaker with a neurotically scrupulous business conscience. Barclay rejected a promising business career.30 In other words, both men were for their time somewhat uncharacteristic Quakers. Yet they were heard. Here and there one also comes upon wealthy Quakers of Victorian times who displayed more than a few traces of a bad conscience about their wealth.31

In connection with these variations in expressed opinions about making and spending money we should glance at the Quaker system of internal moral and ideological controls. Despite Quaker ideals of personal freedom a Victorian Quaker was “under minute surveillance and . . . from the moment his birth note was entered in the Minute Books until the time when his Meeting recorded . . . the details of his burial.” Expulsion proceedings reveal the severe sanctions that could be applied for misbehavior and the power of the corporate church over its members.32 Yet this group discipline over the individual member was decentralized and local. Furthermore, much of the discipline appears to have been the expression of a small group’s “public opinion” that was constantly being reformulated through give and take among local members. There was no central authority such as a pope or modern totalitarian leader who could determine which ideas were acceptable and which were not. Nor was there any centrally controlled apparatus to make these determinations stick. In the light of the system of surveillance they had, the Quakers were fortunate in lacking such a central authority.

Reviewing the evolution of the Quaker community we can see how the commitment to hard work, which seems to have arisen from the Quakers’ effort to distinguish themselves from both the aristocracy and the drifting elements in the lower classes, in time yielded, under the conditions of the industrial revolution, prosperity and comfort for many Quakers. But it also put an end to whatever equality there had been, imposing a considerable strain on the ideal of the Quaker community. Ultimately their ambiguous attitude toward austerity and money making, together with the absence of a centralized system of doctrinal control, facilitated Quaker absorption into a society beginning to display plutocratic traits. In a pure form the free market is rare.

Let us now see how the Israeli kibbutzim approached their aims of equality and community. Despite the concessions made in the use of hired workers, who are not made members of the kibbutz, the internal organization of the kibbutz remains egalitarian in theory and to a considerable degree in practice. In this important respect kibbutz members have been surprisingly successful in resisting major trends inherent in industrial societies both capitalist and socialist. The kibbutz has broken the link between performance and differential monetary rewards. A high officer of the kibbutz or a highly skilled machinist receives essentially the same income as a member who is unskilled or has become too old to do more than very light work. To be a bit more precise, each household receives roughly the same income, with variations to be mentioned later.33

Household income consists mainly of goods and services generated by the kibbutz and distributed free among the members, though more are now being purchased by the kibbutz from the outside. The chief items are food, clothing, and housing. Nowadays a large part of medical care is also free. With the possible exception of housing, these items are fundamentally the same for all members. In a good many kibbutzim the available stock of housing varies from old and undesirable buildings with a few amenities to apartments with all the latest electrical conveniences. In allocating living space, we are told, the kibbutz authorities try to favor need over status. A young family with small children will get more spacious and modern quarters than a distinguished elderly couple with adult offspring.34 Except for a small amount of pocket money voted on each year as part of the budget, a kibbutz member has almost no discretionary income. However, along with the general rise in the standard of living, there has been a big increase in the possibilities for individual choice. In the early days, for example, everybody wore the same size clothes whether they fit or not. When clothes became soiled, their wearer delivered them to the laundry and took a replacement from the top of the pile in the kibbutz’s general supply. This is no longer the case. Kibbutz members can choose their own clothes, whose size and shape can be expected to be a fair approximation of their own. From one obviously prosperous kibbutz we even have a report of a fashion show and the possibility of choosing designer jeans and sport clothes.35

Though rough equality of incomes mitigates inequalities arising from other causes, by no means does it prevent them. Two causes are especially important in the kibbutz—and indeed in all but the simplest nonliterate societies: the division of labor and the system of authority that, among other things, coordinates the various activities of groups and individuals so that these activities will after a fashion mesh with one another, enabling people to do their tasks on time in order to make the results useful to others.

The time has long since passed when there was almost no division of labor, when every member of a kibbutz was expected to be able to do just about everything and jobs were rotated to prevent the rise of inequalities. By the early 1970s, if not considerably earlier, this aspect of the kibbutz ethic had undergone a complete reversal: Being a “cork,” that is, floating from one task to another, had become reprehensible.36 Most members by this time were attached to a specific branch that took care of a specific economic activity such as raising citrus fruit in a production branch, or laundry and cooking in the service branches. This rule of attachment to a specific branch was, we are told, the consequence of collective experience with the division of labor, the need to develop skill and familiarity with a job and skill in performing it.37 The need to develop skill and familiarity with a task is of course a worldwide source of specialization and the division of labor. With regard to the distribution of goods and services, however, the kibbutz displays certain distinctive features. Whenever a person needs anything—cash, clothes, care for the children—one must ask a kibbutz official for it. Such a situation creates a sense of dependence. The only way to gain some measure of independence is to become a respected permanent worker in a branch. Then one can bargain with the labor official in charge of allocating jobs in order to avoid an unwanted transfer or other disagreeable change.38

By now the kibbutzim have developed a quite complex system of authority with a set of officers and committees to manage their affairs. A secretariat that meets weekly is the chief executive organ. It is composed of the main officeholders: the economic coordinator, the labor coordinator, the treasurer, the coordinator of education, and several lay members. Subordinate to the secretariat is a series of committees. These include the economic committee, the labor committee, and committees for education, culture, welfare, and health. Some kibbutzim have even more, such as committees for planning, transport, and even human relations and welfare. This last, according to David Catarivas, has the task of preventing or resolving quarrels among individuals and of allocating housing, refrigerators, furniture, television sets, and the like.39 For these scarce items there are often long waiting lists. Competition for the comforts of a consumer economy is evidently a source of many of the disputes that this committee is intended to mediate.

The proliferation of officers and committees contrast sharply with the early days when the entire membership gathered in the dining room, discussed and settled almost all the issues of life in the kibbutz. Large increases in the membership of most kibbutzim,40 together with a much wider range of economic activities and rising prosperity, have over time put an end to these simple arrangements. Now the kibbutzim have what the economist Haim Barkai calls government by committee. The evidence suggests to me that one should go further and, borrowing a British expression, call the kibbutz a miniature nanny state. For every human discontent there appears to be a committee supposed to take care of it.

As might be expected, the officials do have some sources of gratification that are not available to rank-and-file members. An official in charge of a successful productive operation such as a profitable orchard or small factory—though about this there is likely to be some ambivalence—gains prestige and a relatively wide sphere of authority and responsibility, which are in themselves a source of gratification. Some officers, too, may have highly desirable perquisites, most notably the use of an automobile if their work requires frequent visits to town.

Yet there are several elements in the situation that work to prevent the rise of a closed and oppressive oligarchy. After examining the kibbutz one might even conclude that Robert Michels’s iron law of oligarchy must be made of rather spongy iron. The first check on authority is the full-membership meeting that still takes place once a week. As a rule, attendance is low, roughly one member in five. But it can shoot up whenever there is an exciting issue. Officials have to be careful to avoid doing or saying something that will raise a storm in the membership meeting. Criticism is often sharp, and to win by a narrow margin may amount to a vote of no confidence. A second check is the short term of office, two years and sometimes less. However, a good many officials may go back to the status of ordinary member for, say, two years and then be elected to another position. Though I am unaware of specific evidence, it is easy to see that this practice could lead to the rotation of official positions among a small group of old-timers. Even so, there are limits to any possible monopolization of office, since the committee system, which often draws on volunteers, pulls in 30 to 40 percent of adult members in running the day-to-day affairs of the kibbutz.41

Probably the most important check on officeholders is the burdensome and disagreeable nature of the task. Even full-time officers are unpaid. Whenever anything goes wrong, one or more of the officeholders is liable to get a barrage of complaints. (Jewish culture, for obvious historical reasons, has a rich litany of grumbling and complaint.) Those in charge of consumer services are especially liable to these complaints, though they are not the only victims. Nor are complaints by any means limited to formal meetings of the membership. They also take the form of visits by aggrieved or otherwise troubled members to an official who is at home, trying to relax after a trying day. In addition, a great deal of committee work takes place at night. Finally, to add to their burdens, officials have no real sanctions at their disposal, certainly not punitive ones. They must rely on persuasion, on the public opinion of the kibbutz, and on the conscience of the various individuals in order to get people to do what the officials believe necessary. Thus the labor officer, responsible for allocating manpower to specific tasks, must make rounds of the dining room at supper time in order to persuade members to step into jobs that badly need filling.42 No wonder there is an increasing preference for eating the evening meal at home! It is an even greater wonder that somehow the jobs do get done.

Despite the continuation of a high degree of equality in the distribution of goods and services, two factors have evidently undermined equality in other spheres of kibbutz life. One is the emergence of a system of authority that concentrates the more important decisions in relatively few hands and, as noted earlier, the rise of specialized economic tasks or occupations as part of a quite clear division of labor. Austerity need not detain us here. It is mainly a feature of past history, left behind with few regrets. But we have yet to examine what has happened to the sense of community and community solidarity. These, too, have eroded. In assessing the changes, one must guard against idealizing a past whose records almost certainly fail to reveal adequately the dissension and contentiousness of life in the “heroic” period.

Some of the reasons for the decline of community spirit were external to the kibbutz, and their effect was to diminish the emotional appeal of belonging to a kibbutz. The attainment of national independence in 1948 eliminated one of the main reasons for the existence of the kibbutz movement. Today of course there remains for many kibbutzim the continuous threat of hostile attack. To deal with it the kibbutz has had to devote time and energy to devising an effective military defense, a new element which has changed the focus of communal solidarity.43 The second major factor was the revelation of the Stalinist terror and tyranny that spread through even “informed” Western opinion after Khrushchev’s secret speech in February 1956. This event damaged the socialist element in Socialist-Zionism after Zionist goals had, to a great extent, been achieved. Thus the sense of moral outrage and the feeling that the kibbutz movement existed to pursue a larger goal tended to fade. These were important sentiments sustaining a sense of community and shared enterprise in the kibbutz movement. Moral outrage and shared goals, as we have seen elsewhere, have been important sources for a sense of community in other movements to change the world or escape from it.

Since the early days there have also been many internal threats to the communal tone of kibbutz life. These threats arise out of the very structure of the kibbutz as well as from the forces impinging on this structure. As such, they have been the cause of much lively debate within kibbutzim, whose members seem rather more alert and concerned about what is taking place around them than do ordinary inhabitants of town and village in the United States. Two basic but closely related causes lie behind this series of threats to community. With the improvement in the economic situation of the kibbutzim, domestic and family needs, wants, and concerns began to compete more and more successfully with the collective needs and concerns of the kibbutz as a whole. There has been, in other words, a trend toward privacy and private concerns at the expense of public and collective ones. Some of these tendencies were visible from the beginning. They came into full view by the 1950s, as we can see from the excellent studies by the sociologist Yonina Talmon. More recently one can discern a new individualism barely visible in Talmon’s accounts. Buttressed occasionally by psychological jargon about self-actualization, one argument now holds that the kibbutz no longer has the obligation or right to bring up its young members in such a way as to make them good kibbutz material with the proper collective spirit. Instead, the kibbutz should rear the young to make the most of their innate potential so that they will become creative human beings.

The following issues have caused lively discussion about the threats to the survival of collective and communitarian practices; I list them in rough chronological order, since some debates lasted a long time while others were ephemeral.

1. The issue of the teapot: This story has some of the traits of a legend, though one source describes it as an actual occurrence. In the early days one member of a kibbutz managed to obtain a teapot with which he made tea in his room. This act raised a storm among the membership. “Why doesn’t he take his tea sociably in the dining room with other members?” said some. “What will happen to the community if some day everybody goes off alone to make tea in the room?” said others. Finally the excitement died down, and the man was allowed to keep his teapot.

2. The issue of allowing children to sleep in their parents’ quarters: Since this issue raised questions about collective care for the children and through that the whole rationale of the kibbutz, it will be best discussed separately.

3. The issue of private television sets for home use: This case parallels that of the teapot. Originally a kibbutz had, as a rule, only one large-screen television set, which was for everybody to watch. With rising prosperity came the demand that the kibbutz buy small sets for home use, which was a very expensive proposal. Despite fears that members would spend too much of their limited free time holed up at home watching television instead of taking part in communitywide cultural and recreational activities, the demand for home sets won out.

4. The issue of eating the evening meal at home instead of in the communal dining room: This choice became a realistic one only after kibbutzim could build blocks of small apartments with adequate cooking facilities. The opponents of eating at home argued that the dining room was the social heart of the kibbutz community and the source of its public opinion. If more and more people ate the evening meal at home, this crucial aspect of kibbutz social life would wither away. Thus this issue, too, resembles the incident of the teapot. Opponents also asserted that supper at home would increase the burden of housework on the women. However, it was the women who were the strongest proponents of taking the evening meal at home. Many of them had found their alleged liberation from the tyranny of domesticity through kibbutz life to be a disappointment. They had ended up doing menial “women’s work” anyway-washing four hundred dishes instead of four, as one source put it—while the men continued to perform the more highly valued tasks in the productive sector. Hence the women wanted a brief surcease from the strains of liberation and constant contact with other community members, and an opportunity to show their individual and feminine talents in preparing meals for their own families. By now the evening meal at home appears to be a routine choice with hardly any emotional or political overtones. Meanwhile the dining room remains a very lively social center.

5. The issue of kibbutz support for higher education of members who seek it: With its emphasis on the redeeming virtues of manual labor, especially for the Jewish people and their “distorted” social structure, the kibbutz movement started off with a substantial dose of anti-intellectualism. For a long time, too, kibbutzim could not afford to send young members out for higher education. When that did become possible, the young person went forth with the understanding that the selected course of study would be something useful for the kibbutz, such as an agricultural science, and then that he or she would return to put this newly acquired knowledge at the service of the kibbutz. Quite a few failed to return, which increased the kibbutz’s reluctance to invest in higher education. During the 1970s, however, this reluctance greatly diminished as funds became available, and the belief spread that the kibbutz ought to develop the differing capacities and qualities of each individual. Students are no longer limited to subjects that will serve the kibbutz; they may take such subjects as film making, anthropology, and even rabbinical studies, a surprising degree of latitude in the light of the antireligious atmosphere in many a kibbutz.44

We may now return to the issue of whether children should be allowed to sleep at home with their parents instead of in the communal children’s quarters. Here we see the most significant aspect of the tension between domestic and communitywide concerns.45 All social movements with a strong commitment to moral and social change have to cope with this tension in some fashion. Monastic movements and the Catholic Church as a whole have tried to eliminate the problem through the rule of celibacy. High ecclesiastical officials, however, have been known to promote the interests of their relatives. Similarly, communist parties when out of power try to restrict the personal and marital relationships of their followers to other party members, though it seems that these restrictions have somewhat decayed wherever the parties became mass organizations. Communists in power try to capture and stabilize the family for their own purposes. From the point of view of those who use these methods to preserve or extend a movement, none of the devices is completely satisfactory. That, however, is true of just about any political arrangement, and it is certainly true of the arrangements for child rearing in the kibbutz.

The essence of the kibbutz arrangement is the special children’s quarters in which, under the care of supposedly professional nurses and teachers, all the children are reared from babyhood to some point short of fourteen years. The children are expected to live in these quarters and spend most of their time there, with only brief (but daily) contact with their parents. There have been two main justifications for collective child rearing. One view held that taking care of all the children in the kibbutz together would free mothers from the tyranny of a stultifying domesticity that restricted their horizons to family concerns. Thus liberated, women would be able to play an active role in communal affairs. The other justification was that collective child rearing provided the best way to form unselfish and cooperative human beings suited for collective living in a kibbutz.

Though both justifications turned out to express exaggerated hopes, collective child rearing, with the children sleeping in their special quarters, has been put into effect in most though not all kibbutzim. It has also worked well enough to survive as an institution down to the present day, but with important modification. The main complaint about the system in the 1950s was a very mundane and quite human one. It was extremely difficult and at times almost impossible for the parents to put a small child to bed in the children’s quarters. At best the children would engage in diverse bargaining to persuade their parents to stay a little longer; at worst they would howl. Some would howl while others tried to bargain. Often pandemonium prevailed. But pandemonium at bedtime appears to have been a symptom of more severe problems. The child did see its parents each day. For the child the visit was likely to be a period of affectionate indulgence and escape from pressures to behave and to learn. For the parents, the time spent with their child was an intensely emotional interlude, far more intense than it would have been in the case of, say, a toddler underfoot all day long.46

The kibbutz was evidently unwilling or unable to sever completely the bond between parent and child, something that would be very hard to carry out in a community where membership was voluntary. Hence the kibbutz was getting the worst of both worlds, and especially so in cases where nurses and teachers were incompetent. The situation intensified the demand among young mothers to have their children sleep at home. It is also at this early time that we can discern a rising demand “for more freedom, for the cultivation of individuality, for closer contact among family members,” a set of demands that, as mentioned above, has become steadily more influential in the succeeding twenty-five years.47

At first economic limitations made it impossible to do very much about allowing children to sleep at home. Adult living quarters did not have space for separate sleeping quarters for children, and according to the prevailing middle-class standards such quarters had to be separate. In time, however, as resources grew, it became possible to build additional bedrooms.48 Nowadays more and more children in the kibbutzim sleep at home. In this more relaxed atmosphere, free of collective supervision, the child no longer enjoys the undivided attention of the parents. Nevertheless, these children still spend all day in collectives made up of their age mates. And for those over the age of fourteen, the collective takes on even greater importance, presumably as the teenager’s peer group.49

Thus after all the stormy discussions the sky has not yet fallen. The concessions to private and familial concerns may even have strengthened the social fabric of the kibbutz rather than weakened it. There is a considerable body of anthropological evidence showing that human beings find it hard to endure either an intimate private setting or one of public visibility and obligation for long periods of time. They need escapes from the public sphere and from the private sphere, preferring to move back and forth between the two.50 To the extent that this is the case, it suggests that the early kibbutz, with its overwhelming emphasis on the concerns and solidarity of the community, might not have been a viable social form for more than a short time.

Despite concessions to private and familial concerns, the collective organization of the kibbutz still stands. There is still a rough and ready equality of consumption that remains independent of the individual’s performance as a producer. Except for household possessions that the individual or family may now take with them on abandoning the kibbutz, there is no sign of private property, certainly none in the means of production that remain under collective control. Yet the modern kibbutz is a very different kind of collective, serving very different purposes from those of the early days. As this brief review of the major issues has shown, each of which was eventually decided in favor of familistic or individual interests, there has been a powerful trend toward using collective production to increase the range of possibilities for private consumption. One could call the end result miniature socialism for the consumer society.

Such has been the consequence of the disappearance of the old goals and the gradual fading of the old forms of moral outrage that justified the existence of the kibbutz and were the source of its community spirit. The key question now is whether the kibbutz can produce enough to satisfy consumer demand. Pride in their special way of life and traces of the old contempt for the blandishments of bourgeois society may continue for a while to ease the pressures of demand for late twentieth-century amenities. But if miniature socialism cannot satisfy consumers’ demands more satisfactorily than the surrounding Israeli society—an odd mixture of garrison state and shopping plaza—the kibbutz movement is liable to become even more marginal to this society than is already the case.

In all of the cases discussed so far there has been a substantial erosion of the original “critical” ideals of equality, community, and austerity. Increasing wealth has been the main cause of this erosion, though not the only one. Increasing specialization of functions and a growing division of labor that requires command-obedience relationships to coordinate new forms of work have also played their part. Furthermore, and particularly in the case of the kibbutz, we have noticed that human decisions can affect the process of transformation considerably. It is possible for a group or movement to cling to some ideals, for example, equality, if it is willing to pay the costs. This observation shows that it would be an error to consider the transformation as a single trend with a predetermined result. Instead there is a set of possibilities or choices.

One possibility is that a movement may split between those who wish to adhere to the original ideals and those who wish to come to terms with the “real” world for the sake of preserving and extending the movement. Such a split occurred among the Franciscans after the death of St. Francis of Assisi in 1226. The main issues were the prohibitions on using money and holding property. St. Francis’s own directives on these issues were ambiguous, probably unworkable, and his leadership weak and shadowy at the end.51 Historically unique factors such as these may well have played a part in this particular split. But setting such factors aside, one begins to wonder why the record does not display many other similar splits. There is plenty of evidence of tension between “orthodox” and “realist” elements in the movements discussed, evidence not fully recorded here because of lack of space. But no other major split turned up except for the proliferation of sects among the Buddhists.

The Buddhist case suggests a clue if not a complete explanation. If we look at movements like Christianity and Marxism that focus on bringing about a moral revolution in the world at large, we notice of course a large number of splits. For all its emphasis on renunciation, Buddhism, with its doctrine of universal human brotherhood, also carries some of the elements of moral revolution. For the Western moral revolutionaries at least, the Messiah or the Revolution come first. The good society comes next. (Or, as in some versions of Christianity, the good society comes only in Heaven.) Thus, for moral revolutionaries the good society lies in the future, indeed, in a permanently receding future. The movements discussed in this essay, however, are very different. All were attempts to set up the good society here and now. They may have hoped for a total transformation of the surrounding world through the force of their own examples. But it was the example that counted. The rest of the world could wait.

Movements to establish the good society here and now in some remote corner of the existing world are, I suggest, likely to remain rather small. In a small movement, a split is liable to end by destroying the group as a whole. Both “orthodox” and “realist” parties are likely to be aware of this risk. By definition the realists especially are aware of it, and are therefore likely to treat the orthodox with at least outward consideration and respect. If the orthodox are not so blinded by the intensity of their doctrinal concerns that they lose all contact with social and economic realities, they will have some grudging respect for the realists. Hence it will be possible to come to reluctant agreements. In this way small movements can survive—and evolve. But in large movements, with permanently receding goals, the situation favors the emergence of different groups with competing strategies and tactics for reaching this goal. One or more of the dissident or heretical groups can split off without destroying its competitors—which in many cases it would be quite happy to do—or consigning itself to oblivion.

The importance of human will and human decision appears most clearly in the case of the Carthusian monks, the last example to be discussed and one in which original ideals persisted with very little change. The order was founded by St. Bruno around 1084. Seeking to lead an ascetic life in a solitary place, the monks received diocesan permission to settle in a desolate place in the Alps near Grenoble, called La Chartreuse. Their way of life was austere in the extreme: almost complete silence, no meat and very little food of any kind, simple clothing, and much of the night devoted to religious services instead of sleep. Not for them the life of agricultural entrepreneurship like the Cistercians. Instead, each monk lived in a small house or hermitage, consisting of “a living-room, bedroom and oratory, workshop and store-room,” separated from the dwellings of fellow monks. Outside of each hermitage was a small garden plot for the monk to tend. It is claimed that these monks would not accept another square foot of land. There appears to have been very little community life. Most of the time the monks ate alone in their cells, and nearly all of their days were spent in silent solitude, given over to prayer, meditation, and study. The only communal activity, except for religious services and Sunday meal, was a weekly walk of some three hours, where “gentle and frank gaiety” was permitted, but “political wrangles and useless discussion formally prohibited.”52

Through the centuries this austere life has been maintained with no more than quite minor relaxations down to the present day. The order is fond of the self-characterization “Never reformed because never deformed.” Even though there may have been more change than appears in the limited secondary literature, this is a remarkable record of stability and adherence to original ideals. What factors explain it?

One significant factor is that the Carthusians managed to avoid prosperity. When prosperity threatened, they gave away most of their surplus to charity and worthy religious causes. They appear to have maintained their traditional poverty and austerity down to about the time of the French Revolution, and they used this as justification for their refusal to take care of troops or beggars. These they feared as invasions from the outside world. By the time of the revolution itself, however, both their economic situation and their policy had changed. Somehow the Carthusians must have acquired very considerable resources, because we read of a weekly distribution of 16,000 pounds of bread and an annual distribution of 2,000 livres in cash to mendicants during the period of the revolution.53

If such generosity, the report of which may be greatly exaggerated, was a tactic to avoid revolutionary confiscation, the tactic did not work. Their property was confiscated. Following the Bourbon restoration in 1815, the Carthusians recovered only the barren desert on which their monastery stood and for which they now had to pay rent. In these desperate straits they invented and produced the famous liqueur, Chartreuse. The liqueur became a great commercial success and saved the order. But it is said that the monks did not spend this money on themselves nor have they allowed it to accumulate. Some went for the maintenance of La Grande Chartreuse and the construction of buildings at other monasteries of the order. The largest portion, however, was spent on religious and charitable undertakings all over the world. Thus, it has been claimed, the profits from the liqueur have made no difference at all in the Carthusians’ secluded and austere life.54

For the avoidance of prosperity, especially in the early history of this order, there existed not only human will but also powerful social mechanisms to give effect to that will. Each chapter of the Carthusians was subject to strong controls from the central authority. One control worked through the Visitors appointed by the General Chapter from among priors of the order. During the Canonical Visitations each monk was interviewed individually. Another inspecting body was the Diffinitory, an executive committee composed of eight members of the General Chapter. It had complete authority over the chapters, seeing to it that no abuse could gain ground. According to a Carthusian source, the repression of an abuse has always been speedy and energetic. Because of the committee and the Visitors, the source continues, fervor and discipline have been maintained.55 We may also infer that the atomized character of monastic society in this order, in which monks rarely came together and were not allowed general conversation when they did, must have made it unusually difficult for unorthodox ideas to gain a foothold.

For the Carthusians austerity seems to have been a more important ideal than equality and community. In general, these two appear as both the consequences of austerity and instrumental to maintaining it. For their adherence to their ideals the Carthusians have paid a very heavy price. They are now close to extinction. As of the early 1970s there remained only 440 members throughout the world.56

On the basis of evidence reviewed in this essay we may now state provisionally the range of apparent possibilities for a commitment to equality, community, and austerity. If the commitment leads to prosperity, as it frequently does, the most likely result is a general erosion of all three commitments. But this result is not inevitable. As the kibbutz demonstrates, it is possible to break the link between pay and performance, thereby maintaining a substantial degree of equality in consumption. This can occur even when austerity is sacrificed. There is also a sacrifice of efficiency and some loss of community in grumbling and confusion about the performance of necessary tasks. The interesting question is whether equality too may undergo alteration with an increasing emphasis on the importance of satisfying the varied needs of individuals. It is too early to tell. Equality has already been breached by the division of labor, including the introduction of hired labor, and by the development of a system of leadership and authority. And the kibbutz as a whole may not be viable without external subsidies.

Finally, as the case of the Carthusians shows, an organization can maintain a high degree of austerity over a very long time. Rank-and-file Carthusian monks evidently lived under a regime near equality in regard to food, clothing, and shelter. But they have been subject to the authority of their superiors exercised through a very strict discipline. Community in the sense of strong mutual ties arising out of spontaneous cooperation in the performance of self-chosen tasks appears always to have been weak or absent. The long survival of the order, even if small in numbers today, in something like its pristine state appears to stem from the rejection of prosperity, encouraged by a strong central authority working on an atomized social order. More succinctly, equality of austerity could survive because of the absence of community and the presence of authority. Thus survival in the case of both the Carthusians and the kibbutz has been bought at the price of a substantial sacrifice of original ideals, as in the kibbutz pattern, or the near absence of at least one of these ideals in the first place, in the Carthusian pattern.

Attempting to peer into the future one can assert that the commitment to equality, community, and austerity will arise again and again as long as human societies continue to present felt injustices. But whenever these ideals are put into practice, they undergo a sea change. The end of austerity is morally expensive, its survival morally and economically even more expensive.


1For a good study of ephemeral groups and movements in the United States, see Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective (Cambridge, Mass., 1972).

2On Christianity, see Herbert Grundmann, Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter, 2d ed., rev. (Hildesheim, 1961); Lester K. Little, Religious Poverty and the Profit Economy in Medieval Europe (London, 1978). A brief but meaty introduction to Buddhist theory and practice may be found in A. L. Basham, The Wonder That Was India (London, 1954), 256–266.

3For a concise treatment of Socialist-Zionism, with reference to further sources, see Paula Rayman, The Kibbutz Community and National Building (Princeton, 1981), 9–18. More specific remarks on the hope to reverse the European pattern of Jewish society may be found in David Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz (Paris, 1983), 33–34. Note also Uri Leviatan and Menachem Rosner, eds., Work and Organization in Kibbutz Industry (Norwood, Pa., 1980), 64–65.

4Louis J. Lekai, The Cistercians: Ideals and Reality (Kent, Ohio, 1977), provides a revealing account of the history of donations to the Cistercians. The original Cistercian goal had been to retreat from a corruptive society, to seek land in solitary and “desert” areas, and to work it themselves with the help of lay brothers. Essentially, they wanted to live on the fruits of their own labor for the sake of moral purity (pp. 30–31, 65). They did do a great deal of cultivation in this manner. But from the beginning they also violated their own rules by acquiring lands with feudal revenues, especially tithes. Meanwhile they managed to gain exemptions from paying tithes themselves (pp. 48–49, 65–68, 282–284, and further on tithes 293–307). By the fourteenth century the original modest Cistercian farms had grown to become extremely large estates (p. 72), requiring “professional” management. The Cistercians changed from escapists from the feudal economy to early leaders in the modernization of the economy. For further information on historical changes in donations, see pp. 16, 18, 75, 286–291, 300–302, 307. In regard to the kibbutz, Eliyahu Kanovsky, The Economy of the Israeli Kibbutz (Cambridge, Mass., 1966), 128–129, shows that the organization was not economically viable and required economic and organizational assistance from the government and other central authorities. Since the 1950s, he also asserts, the standard of living in kibbutzim had become divorced from their profitability (p. 135). It became necessary to subsidize the standard of living in order to avoid increased dissatisfaction and defections. According to the case study of one kibbutz in Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 74–76, Kibbutz Har could not have been established or been able to survive without containing capital investment from the Jewish community in Palestine and Jews in the Diaspora. Other private sources also helped; in 1938 they provided 38 percent of the credit of older kibbutzim.

5Jacques Gernet, Les aspects économiques du Bouddhisme dans la société chinoise du Ve au Xe siècle (Saigon, 1956), 112–120.

6In the beginning the founders vowed to live exclusively from the fruits of their labor. Not long afterward they decided to acquire landed properties far from human dwellings and cultivate them with the help of lay brothers and hired hands. See Lekai, Cistercians, 30–31, 65.

7Leviatan and Rosner, Work and Organization, 64–75, present a general treatment of the issue that brings out the differences among kibbutzim. Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 114–119, is an unusually candid treatment that reveals the role of ethnic differences and class sentiments. Joseph Raphael Blasi, The Communal Future: The Kibbutz and the Utopian Dilemma (Norwood, Pa., 1978), 132–134, shows in another case study that the issue can be very troubling even in a kibbutz that utilizes outside labor for no more than 7 percent of its total number of work days and for relatively unprofitable undertakings.

8Lekai, Cistercians, 282.

9Ibid., 295.

10Ibid., 297–298.

11Ibid., 310–311.

12Ibid., 316–317.

13Ibid., 312–313.

14Ibid.; on exemptions, 311.

15H. B. Workman, “Monasticism,” Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (New York, 1937), 10:587.

16Lekai, Cistercians, 301–302.

17Ibid., 72–73.

18Ibid., 316.

19Basham, Wonder That Was India, 281–282.

20“Buddhism,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. (Cambridge, 1910), 4:749.

21Arthur F. Wright, Buddhism in Chinese History (Stanford, 1959), 51, mentions an Emperor Wu of the Liang who reigned 502–549 and took the Buddhist vows.

22Gernet, Aspects économiques, 149, 154–155.

23Stanley Weinstein, “Imperial Patronage in the Formation of T’ang Buddhism,” in Perspectives on the T’ang, ed. Arthur F. Wright and Dennis Twitchett (New Haven, Conn., 1973), 273–274.

24Cf. Wright, Buddhism, 60–61.

25On Quaker equality and community, see Arthur Raistrick, Quakers in Science and Industry: Being an Account of the Quaker Contributions to Science and Industry during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 2d ed. (Newton Abbot, Devon, 1968), 24; Elizabeth Isichei, Victorian Quakers (Oxford, 1970), xxiv. By the mid-nineteenth century equality was dead. Anthony Howe, The Cotton Masters, 1830–1860 (Oxford, 1984), 70, describes the Quakers as a “sect in which the wealthy dominated and from which the bankrupt were expelled.”

26On this aspect, see Isichei, Victorian Quakers, chap. 5.

27Raistrick, Quakers in Science, 10–11, 42–43; Isichei, Victorian Quakers, 147.

28Paul H. Emden, Quakers in Commerce: A Record of Business Achievement (London, n.d. [preface dated 1939]), 13.

29Raistrick, Quakers in Science, 319.

30Isichei, Victorian Quakers, 23. According to the Dictionary of National Biography, ser. 1, 18:108, Shillitoe gave up a position with a Lombard Street bank at the age of twenty-four because the bank sold lottery tickets. I do not presume to say whether that behavior qualifies as neurotic. After a brief stint as a shoemaker he became an itinerant preacher for many years, during which time he managed to obtain audiences with two kings of England, the king of Prussia, the king of Denmark, and Emperor Alexander of Russia. John Barclay, though bearing a name famous in Quaker annals, does not turn up in standard biographical source books, including Quaker ones. There are two brief references to him in Howard H. Brinton, ed., Children of Light: In Honor of Rufus M. Jones (New York, 1958), 388–389, 403. From them one can learn the dates of his birth and death and that, on being taken into his father’s bank, he expressed doubts about the morality of making money.

31Isichei, Victorian Quakers, 152–153.

32Ibid., 139, 141.

33Yonina Talmon, Family and Community in the Kibbutz (Cambridge, Mass., 1972), 2; Haim Barkai, Growth Patterns of the Kibbutz Economy (Amsterdam, 1977), 11–13; Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 181–184. For a succinct statement of the meaning of equality for Socialist-Zionists, see Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 14. They wanted to break the connection between distribution and the individual’s output or social position.

34Barkai, Growth Patterns, 14, explains that housing is allocated on a points system to take account of complicated criteria in assessing needs.

35Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 236; Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 94–98.

36Israel Shepher, The Kibbutz: An Anthropological Study (Norwood, Pena., 1983), 55.

37Ibid., 43–61.

38Ibid., 61–63.

39Barkai, Growth Patterns, 5–6; Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 169–170.

40According to Arthur Ruppin, Der Aufbau des Landes Israel: Ziele und Wege jüdischer Siedlungsarbeit in Palästina (Berlin, 1919), 209–210, Dagania (or Degania), widely regarded as the first collective settlement, began in 1909 with seven workers. Its success exceeded all expectations.

41Barkai, Growth Patterns, 7.

42Blasi, Communal Future, 196. The novel by Amos Oz, A Perfect Peace (Tel Aviv, 1982 [in Hebrew]; New York, 1985), provides insight into the tribulations of an aging kibbutz leader with close ties to national officials. Talmon, Family and Community, chap. 7, and Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 155–176, provide further valuable information on the context of leadership.

43Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 91, 196–197.

44Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 52, 236, reports an actual case of a teapot dispute. For paragraph 2, see notes 45–49. For paragraph 3, Blasi, Communal Future, 217; Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 237; Menachem Rosner, Democracy, Equality, and Change: The Kibbutz and Social Theory (Darby, Penn., 1983), v, 55–56, 127. For paragraph 4, Talmon, Family and Community, 74–76, 79–80, 84; Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 125–126; Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 80–89. For paragraph 5, Bruno Bettelheim, The Children of the Dream (London, 1969), 225–226; Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 158–159; Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 113–114.

45This tension appeared with the birth of the first babies to kibbutz parents. Cf. Blasi, Communal Future, 29; Talmon, Family and Community, 4–8.

46Talmon, Family and Community, 94–95.

47Ibid., 96.

48Rayman, Kibbutz Community, 234.

49Catarivas, Vivre au kibboutz, 105–114.

50Barrington Moore, Jr., Privacy: Studies in Social and Cultural History (Armonk, N.Y., 1984), 41–59.

51For details, see M. D. Lambert, Franciscan Poverty: The Doctrine of the Absolute Poverty of Christ and the Apostles in the Franciscan Order, 1210–1323 (London, 1961), chap. 3.

52The Carthusians: Origin, Spirit, Family Life, 2d rev. ed. (Westminster, Md., 1952), 42–51, 60–61; “Carthusians,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. (Cambridge, 1910), 5:432–433.

53E. Margaret Thompson, The Carthusian Order in England (London, 1930), vi.

54See “Carthusians,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed. (Cambridge, 1910), 5:432–433.

55Carthusians, 66–68.

56“Carthusians,” New Columbia Encyclopaedia, 4th ed. (New York, 1975), 468.

Additional Information

ISBN
9781501726422
Related ISBN
9780801433764
MARC Record
OCLC
1057680727
Pages
54-81
Launched on MUSE
2018-04-06
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-ND
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