I was almost ready to move into a quasi-commune in the middle of Chicago--I know, an odd place for one, but it was really into outreach and serving the poor--but I decided not to for the following reasons:
--They used public healthcare or none at all. Sometimes that's the same thing. If you live far from an established city in the case of a rural commune, how will you get help if you need it? Is the risk of not getting help prohibitive? If it isn't, how do you know you won't get sick or hurt?
--Something seemed fishy about the tax structure there. They had their own lawyers to took care of everyone's tax filings. Quite frankly, since I'm legally responsible for the errors my tax preparer makes, I may as well do it myself with input from more seasoned taxpayers.
--Though I would have had the option to pick up a paying part-time job in addition to working in the community, it would not have been enough to both save for medical emergencies and retirement. Would this commune take care of you in your old age, provided that you were still living there? What if you lived there 20 years and then it turned into a sick cult? Then you're out on the street with nothing but memories.
--What precautions do they take for safety? Inner-city Chicago is known for being a relatively rough place. What about the surrounding area for your commune? Being surrounded by green growing things is no guarantee that the neighbors are hospitable.
--What about danger from within? Do they take in just anybody? If someone's violent because of substance-abuse issues, how will they protect you?
--Last but not least, how good are their cleanliness standards? I'm talking kitchen sanitation, bathrooms, clothes washing... People can be very nice and kind, but if the food prep areas are crawling with all manner of nasty things, you may want to look elsewhere or prepare your food separately.
Q: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? A: 1001...one to change the bulb, 1000 to say it's already been done.