The RareBirds, a “chosen Family” of seven adults who live in a house they built and own, in Kamloops, B.C., are perhaps not as rare as the article about them makes them out to be.
The article does not mention “child,” “son,” “daughter,” or “parents” once. That is not a characteristic of the families that made Canada what it is.
What will Canadian people do when they are in their 80s and need help with living? Will they sell their homes and move into assisted living accommodations, where they then have other people’s children and grandchildren pay for their accommodation? The article mentions that, if any vacancies occur, the RareBirds will offer shares in their communal property. The monthly payments are quite affordable, even attractive, compared to what a place in, say, assisted living costs, less than a fifth of the cost of latter, per month. The question is whether there is much of a market for shares in communal housing in Kamloops, or anywhere else, or whether the idea of communal living will catch on and spread. So far, real-estate ads do not seem to promote shares in communal housing. Whatever arrangements for the last stage of his life that anyone chooses, it too is a “chosen family.”
For anyone who considers the idea of living in a “chosen family” style communal home, it would be a good idea to consider that a communal home and a “chosen family” will not assure a comfortable old age, as that requires much more. Assisted-living accommodations are expensive and it may not be easy to rely on recovering accumulated equity to pay for the cost of the former (the article states nothing about that), if one of the owners of the communal home and member of the “chosen family” intends or is forced to move from one to the other.
If all of the people the age of the RareBirds and younger adopt that lifestyle, they will quite likely save a considerable amount of money (one large home is cheaper to own and operate than between seven and 3.5 smaller ones), but they will die anyway, and so will the whole country, as has been the experience throughout every country whose population embarked on enjoying life and foregoing children. Once an individual becomes old enough to be no longer productive, perhaps more or less incapable to help himself, to boot, he cannot live without help from younger people (either directly or indirectly – through taxes) in comfort until the end of his natural life expectancy.
There will not be enough younger, productive people to do the required support work, either directly or indirectly. No amount of money will create those missing younger people. Some may think that they can always import immigrants to do the required work (including bathing, washing, feeding, changing diapers, driving them to medical appointments, cooking for them, and so on…) but all developed nations already have no people to spare, and the developing nations, increasingly, won’t either.
Communal living is nothing new. It is may be as old as humanity. It is being done on a large scale in Canada, the U.S., and in Central- and South-America, quite successfully. by families and their extended families (that is, children — to a certain extent, parents and grandparents) in communities of optimally 150 people of the Hutterite colonies. Steps are being taken by the Hutterites to ensure that individual colonies will not grow much beyond what is considered to be the ideal size of 150 people. The Hutterites are fully aware of the consequences of the lack of children, which is why they avoid running out of them. The article about the RareBirds in Kamloops made no mention of the Hutterites and their reasons for not wanting to forego the having and raising of children.
Even the Hutterites, who for more than about 250 years proved that communal living and communal ownership of property can be turned into a successful model for survival (although there are some serious consequences to their chosen life style, due to their limited gene pool, but that is a consequence that the lifestyle of people like the RareBirds prevents from occurring), did not invent communal living. The advantages of communal life and property became very popular in the Occident during the life and work of Saint. Anthony (c. 251–356 A.D.), considered to be the “Father of Monasticism” in Christianity. Christian monasticism, of the male and female variety became a virtual rage during the Middle Age, and order after order of monks or nuns came into existence in wave after wave of revivalism. Many of them persist to this day. The article about the RareBirds did not mention any of that, nor did it mention any of the following.
Aside from many instances in the world, in primitive as in advanced societies, where all sort of communal life styles were and still are customary and long-established traditions, those traditions lost their attraction in the Occident, largely with the rise and evolution of the Industrial Revolution. There is one more example of a particular communal life style that is of interest in this discussion, a life style that was once deemed necessary and was very visible, if not prevalent. Its evidence is still visible, but it roots are obviously no longer remembered by many.
Many people just love the centuries-old Bavarian farmsteads that were just fairly recently converted to become very popular ski lodges and tourist accommodations. Those ancient farmsteads/now-ski-lodges-cum-tourist-accommodations are that large because they were, not all that long ago, “communes,” too, providing accommodation for four generations of the owner’s family, plus their hired hands.
Very comparably-large ancient farmsteads like that can be found in Germany’s Black Forest, but the skiing never became as popular there. Tourism is a relative late-comer there.
Many of the farmsteads in the Black Forest, too, are as large, for the same reason, but most look now much as they always did, as well as everyday life enabled their owners all along to make them look.
So now people like the RareBirds worry about how to live comfortably, efficiently and cheaply, but the traditional concept of the family is not so much anyone’s concern anymore, other than that of the powers who try their best — and succeed — to wean the population of the whole World from the urge to procreate. First and foremost is the UN, an non-elected bureaucracy that does the bidding of people in the shadows and has been doing so for more than 70 years, never much affected by any elections anywhere, but always furthering an agenda. The goal is to reduce the world population down to between 300 million and one billion people. The UN’s projection of the size of the World population being reduced down to 3.5 billion people (the scenario of a low total fertility rate) by 2150 appears to be well within sight.
Not very many nations are concerned about the pain and suffering that such a course of action will bring to the people of the world. Japan is one of a few who openly worry about that, as its younger, productive population sector is steadily shrinking, while it elderly, non-productive population sector is steadily increasing, thereby ever more exhausting the capacity of the shrinking productive population sector to provide the physical and financial support required by the elderly.
Japan is by no means an isolated case. Already the total fertility rates (TFR, the number of children born to the average woman of fertile age) of the developed nations are without exception below replacement levels, some to a considerable extent. Many and increasing numbers of developing nations are following suit with their TFRs.