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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

But I think this is a core problem, maybe the core problem, with many community systems or projects.

My kids' soccer teams are at the intramural level, so it's not highly competitive. The children are in it to have fun with their friends. A few parents are actively involved and put a lot of work in. Most just show up. Sometimes the organizations fold for lack of contributors, even though the kids love it.

Or on a larger scale, I think of free software (free-as-in-freedom, open source). A tiny core of contributors do almost all of the work, a larger set of hobbyists do the rest, and hundreds of millions more just use the results.

Or look at the Open Source Ecology / Global Village Construction Set project. There are billions that would benefit from the project when it matures. It, or an equivalent, should be buried in resources. Instead it's a motivated but laughably tiny community.

Now, maybe there is a compelling argument that capitalism poisons everything it touches so much that even these non-business projects crash and burn. Maybe citizens of a capitalist society are unable in some cases to contribute but more importantly just ingrained with a mindset alien to contributing without tangible rewards.

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anarchist_critic wrote

Well, there's lots of reasons people don't contribute. Yes, a belief in rewards is one of them. Others include time pressure (from overwork and social obligations), illness, depression, certain disabilities, lack of "skills", lack of self-confidence, and all kinds of attitudes towards the people doing the work (from hero-worship to resentment and "feeling excluded"). The thing is, a lot of initiatives keep running in spite of a lot of the participants not contributing. Yes, some fold. They fold at the point where the core group burn out, or the resources needed are greater than those the core group can put in. A lot of others keep going. I think there's less energy now than in the recent past, but the main reason is that everyone's overworked and overstressed. It's a lot easier to put energy into projects when you have a stable job with low hours or better still, you're managing to survive without working.

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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I hope you don't find the late response irritating. I think you're right.

I have an outstanding income but all of my time and money goes into my brood. In another fifteen years if medical problems for me or for a loved one don't derail my plans, I'll have the time to contribute to some worthwhile project. But only a painfully small portion of society is in that luxurious position at any one time. And I'll still be working full time.