Eastphalia, US

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Phalanstery

Charles Fourier developed the concept of the Phalanstère, Americanized as Phalanstery, as a self-contained community operating on his communal theories.

 

The word is based on the ancient Greek word phalanx, which described a well-fortified arrangement of solders who lock their shields together with their spears pointed outward.

In the strictest sense, a phalanstery is a single building made up of dormitories, workrooms, and community rooms.   Members of the phalanstery live in the dormitories, choose what work to do in the workrooms, and meals are taken in the community rooms.   The idea is to remove the redundancy of multiple kitchens, repeated building structures, and building an intimate community which exists for the benefit of the members of the community as a whole.

Fourier's concepts were developed in France in the early 19th century, at the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and as such the industry of the phalanstery was imagined to be agrarian and artisan.   Fourier was certain his concepts could be applied in the real world, and several communities in the late 19th century did adapt his ideas into reality.

As a concept, reducing redundant features of a community to increase efficiency is the basic crux of the phalanstery.   When applied to a modern community, communal kitchens, laundry rooms, childcare, and the like, can exist in any close-knit community while still staying true to Fourier's ideals.

Work was done in a phalanstery by the willingness of the citizens to do the work.  Fourier believed that every healthy person would prefer to work than to be idle, and by reducing the amount of effort required to maintain the community, people would be able to maintain a community using less effort, leaving more time for craftsmanship and the arts.  People would be paid based on their share of the work put into the phalanstery, divided out from the product of the phalanstery's labor.   Consolidated workloads would theoretically be more efficient, and thus more profitable, leading to a surplus of income which would be used to support the greater idle time experienced by the citizens of the phalanstery.

 

 

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