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Kibbutzims, Communes, Middle Class & Social Order

Please provide help and discussion of the questions listed below:

Question #1

Are there any controls on the kibbutz leaders those who are "more powerful"? Can the people who voted them in would they be able to get rid of them if things are not going right? Are they there whether or not they do a job that benefits the kibbutz?

Question #2

Consider the statement: If the middle class continues to shrink until there is no longer a middle class. The rich will have to pay additional taxes to sustain programs needed for the poor.

Question #3
If the rich are already getting tax refunds, even though they are not paying taxes. How will they help do that?

How can the rich help the poor by paying additional taxes if there is no middleclass to pay taxes. Will all the burden of paying more taxes be passed down on to the poor?

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hi. I am glad that you have looked into the Kibbutz system because it is really an interesting social experiment into classless social orders. To learn Hebrew I lived and worked in a Kibbutzim in Israel, the Kvutzat Geva near Galilee in the north for a year; the advice I give you here is not just based on academic studies but from my own personal immersion. Now, let us tackle the questions you posed -

Kibbutz Controls - As I mentioned earlier, the Kibbutz is governed by a council. Imagine a local election where the mayors and his council are elected. This is just the way in a Kibbutz. The Kibbutz system has been around since the days of British control and some Kibbutzims are far older than others. Think of a Kibbutzim as a 'town'. A kibbutz however must be recognized and duly licensed by the Israeli government and they are seen as a kind of semi-autonomous enterprise. While they have their own rules and regulations for membership and member responsibilities, all are still Israelis and are thus accountable to the laws of Israel. Now, just like in any town there are factions - some families had been in the kibbutz for generations and are seen as the Pillars of the kibbutz. Naturally, they exert great influence over a lot of things - economic, political and social concerns. The Kibbutz I was in, Geva has members of the founding families sitting on a number of the committees that govern it. To run, the Kibbutz owns a hydraulics factory, an almond farm, a fish farm, an orchard and Shkedia - a chocolate factory that exports all over the world. As a rich kibbutz it had a grade school, a clinic, a grocery and a host of homes, residences, gyms, riding facilities and libraries that benefitted all its members. Everything is owned by the commune downright to the cars. All members sign into the Kibbutz are provided a job within their money-making enterprise dependent upon skill and all children are given education. All have access to food and all the benefits of the kibbutzim. Every year each family gets a share of the profit, equally. But all children, all wives, all husbands - they are each drafted to work in certain sections of the factories or the farms and they start work as early as age 8 from washing dishes in the kitchen to gardening. Now, this might seem ideal, but let us go back to the 'pillar families' - they have much more ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides an ethnographic discussion based on a first-person perspective of the Israeli Kibbutzims as a socialist/communal system. This discussion is taken up in comparison with democratic-capitalism arrangements currently in practice in the West. Questions related to social organization, division of power and stratification is taken up. Additionally, a discussion of the shrinking middle class phenomenon is included plus the topic of the importance of the middle class in a capitalist system. References are listed for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.