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Israel’s oldest kibbutz privatises itself

You can almost hear the crunch of gritted teeth as the Guardian reports on how kibbutzers have “allow[ed] the market to take the place of the idealism”.

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13 comments to Israel’s oldest kibbutz privatises itself

  • Petronius

    Of course, the kibbutzim are all Jewish, so the Guardianistas hate them already, whither socialist or capitalist.

  • Quenton

    The Kibbutz has always intrigued me. It’s voluntary communism on the only scale it can realistically work, small. I wish more commies would go join these things instead of trying to make the rest of the world “work” in that fasion.

    I found this part of the article a bit funny though:

    In future they will be paid varied salaries based on ability not need and, most importantly, they will be allowed to keep them. In return they will have to pay for services such as electricity and water and they will have to pay a progressive income tax into the kibbutz which will be used to support the least well off.

    So…. they going to operate in the same way that most western economies do, only with an extra layer of bureaucracy. Hope that works out for you….

  • Paul Marks

    Israel already has a graduated (“progressive”) income tax – so are these people going to pay two income taxes or are they going to be let off the government one? The latter would put them at advantage compared to non kibbutzim.

    No more than 5% of Jews in Israel (at any one time) have ever chosen to live in a kibbutz (in spite of all the prestige and the aid from Israel and overseas).

    I have nothing against people choosing to live in egalitarian communities (after all there have been monks and nuns for thousands of years), but it is interesting how the kibbutz (and other near kibbutz) structure has changed over the years.

    The key question for an egalistarian is “are you going to allow people to leave”?

    Bad guy utopia planners (from Plato in the “Republic” and especially the more detailed “Laws”, to Lenin and the rest) have come down on the side of “no”. The kibbutz people came down on the side of “yes”.

    So such things as the communal raising of children was bound to go (sorry Mrs Clinton “a village” is a very bad way to raise a child – the parents shoud do it), as was the planned economy stuff.

    Prime Minister Sharon (in his autobiography) told how his father left one of these communal farms (not a kibbutz, but close to it) – on the grounds that people who knew nothing about farming (the majority of people in the community) were ordering about those (such as himself) who did know about farming.

    The divine right of the 51% did not work for him.

  • dearieme

    Surely they are replacing one idealism by a different one?

  • pete

    I like the bit quoted, which says that people will be paid wages according to ability, and more importantly will be allowed to keep them. This implies a bypassed intermediate step where people are paid wages according to ability but are not allowed to keep them. Is this a fallback position in case international socialism becomes popular once more?

  • nicholas gray

    This is the first time I’ve read an article by George Monbiot, and he sounds like an intelligent person! Of course, Phillip Adams here in Australia can sound sane until you whisper ‘Howard’ in his ear, so maybe I’m reading Monbiot at his best. What does he usually sound like?

  • Gabriel

    They tried setting up some moshavim (a toned down version of a kibbutz, you get some privacy) in France, but everyone preferred taking drugs to working so they all left.

    Gaurdianistas tend to say at least sort of nice things about Kibbutzes, which is funny because Palestinians hate them more than anything. Back in the 1948 period the arabs (they hadn’t got round to calling themselves palestinians yet) got their best kicks from raiding kibbutzes at night, slaughtering all the inhabitants and then running back over the border. (That, by the way, is why Israel *overreacted* when Hizbollah launched its raid last summer.)

  • …moshavim (a toned down version of a kibbutz, you get some privacy) Not really(p).

  • I hit the “post” button too early…Actually, it’s the other way around: moshav is a mostly private enterprise, with some communal aspects

  • Simon Jester

    Nicholas,

    Normally, GM sounds a bit more like a Barking Monnbat. However, as Guy Herbert observed:

    We belong to recognisably the same impersonal, evolving, rationalist civilization in which there are real contentions, even though we have extremely different takes on it.

  • Simon Jester

    Nicholas,

    Normally, GM sounds a bit more like a Barking Moonbat. However, as Guy Herbert observed:

    We belong to recognisably the same impersonal, evolving, rationalist civilization in which there are real contentions, even though we have extremely different takes on it.

  • Gabriel

    I hit the “post” button too early…Actually, it’s the other way around: moshav is a mostly private enterprise, with some communal aspects

    Well it depends how you define mostly, I certainly wouldn’t want to live on one. In any case, they proved too austere a model for idealistic French students, quelle surprise.