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Okay, so most of you believe the Karma system of payment that I described in the last post is redundant with cash, or at least contrary to human nature. I disagree, since I wouldn't walk your dog for cash, but I would do it for Karma points, so that I would feel free to ask you for a favor in return someday.

But I'll drop that from the plan because if Cheapatopia works in other ways, you will get to know all of your neighbors well enough to arrange for a free dog-watcher when you need one anyway.

The backbone of Cheapatopia would be social networking via the Internet. You might say Facebook does what you need, but I think something far more robust is called for.

For example, if you wanted to arrange an impromptu get together for any sport or activity, it would be nice to have a web service that matched just the right number of players, at just the right mix of skills, without much human intervention. I should be able to tell the system what I'm interested in, when I can do it, and how skilled I am. Then the system should find other players. And it should happen in minutes, because alerts would be sent to the smart phones of anyone nearby who was interested in the same thing. In Cheapatopia, every citizen is required to have a smart phone. And the city would have free WiFi everywhere.

Preparing meals could also be more organized and less expensive. It would be a lot easier to make a bunch of just one thing - say a big bowl of pasta salad - than to make several items for a meal. Imagine a system that matches you with the neighbors who have complementary dishes, and you all get together to trade Tupperware containers with your contribution. The system would keep track of whether you gave more than you got, and even things out over time.

Food preparation and games would be the primary way neighbors got to know each other. And it would substitute for more expensive recreational and dining options.

The web service should also match people who have no pets, but wish they did, with people who need their pets walked or watched while they are away. No money needs to change hands because both parties benefit in the transaction. Few things are more fun than a borrowed dog.

Likewise, you could easily find someone to watch your kid for an evening if doing so gave their own kid a playmate to keep him occupied for that time. Babysitters would be unnecessary. Parents know it's often easier to watch two kids that are amusing each other than one kid who has nothing productive to do.

Ride sharing would be made easy in Cheapatopia by this same Internet system. But the only rides you would ever need would be to the nearest airport. There would be no cars within Cheapatopia. More on that later.
 
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+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
"Babysitters would be unnecessary. Parents know it's often easier to watch two kids that are amusing each other than one kid who has nothing productive to do."

Uh, not so much. I had three kids, quite close together - and the eldest was a bit on the, shall we say, wild side. Really I think he was channelling the Tasmanian Devil. We rarely went out. Nowadays they are all teenagers - and excellent workers - so neighbors compete to hire them. (The eldest is now 16 and quite calm and responsible. All the vocal idiots who assume over-active kids just need more discipline were WRONG - but try getting them to admit it now....)

What I really wanted when they were small was a way to get out of the house, without hiring a team of sitters. I would have loved to have had access to a large community center - with a safe place for small kids to play - that also had laundry and kitchen facilities - that were gated off from the kids -but still offered a full view and quick access to them. I could have watched my kids while taking care of basics - and been with other adults at the same time.



 
 
Jul 17, 2009
"Few things are more fun than a borrowed dog." --Scott Adams

That depends on the dog. I just got through babysitting a dog who, due to various medical problems, is the World's Most Flatulent Canine. Also, compared to my dogs, she's a jerk. I'm thinking of refusing to take her in next time her friend leaves town for a week.
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
"every citizen is required to have a smart phone"
Do you mean to own or to have on their person, and if the latter how often? Since you're already required to have the phone you might as well be required to respond to queries you receive on your phone, otherwise what's the point of the first requirement? That's sounding rather invasive and tedious.

I think you should rephrase it to something like: "Every citizen of Cheapatopia will be given a smart phone."
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
Leora has already caught you.
"Every citizen is required to have a smart phone."
Thus with all utopias: A short step to totalitarianism.
It sure didn't take you very long to get there...
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
Cheapatopia concept sounds like a homeowner’s association on steroids. And we all known how carefree, unobtrusive and simpatico those two elements are.
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
I think one of the assumptions Scott has made, and one that the rude critics have ignored, is that Cheapatopia will surround you with people you will get along well with. For guys I guess this means "people with similar interests" ,and for girls it probably means "people who are less attractive than you" (I kid).

But really, it's an important aspect of this whole project. You need to be surrounded by people you can trust, people who enjoy the same things as you, and people who actually WANT to be there. The whole idea falls apart if you don't have these things.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
How about love (sacrificial love) that is committed to helping others regardless of the cost. How about living freely and choosing to live in harmony with others (sometimes we give sometimes we take, in uncontrolled way). Why the need to calculate and score points!

What has been proposed so far is no different from some places I know exist today. Plus it does not challenge our/human inclanation or the inner self!
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
"Required to have a smart phone"?
Which has a GPS locator?
And operating on a system run by a central organization, say, a government?

*shiver*
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
sounds like an awfully elaborate techno scheme to replace making actual friends.

linking you up with people in a matter of minutes who meet the specified parameters does not necessarily link you up with people you like. finding 7 other people available to play 4's beach volleyball at a comparable skill level doesn't necessarily mean that i'll be playing vball with 7 people i actually like. after all, there are many reasons to like/dislike someone, and their availability and athletic skill only add minimally to their likability.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
Maybe you're thinking more along the lines of kibbutz life?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbutz
Not that kibbutznik still do the communal thing anymore, but they also are no longer limited to agriculture.

and about your bit on preparing meals:

"Preparing meals could also be more organized and less expensive. It would be a lot easier to make a bunch of just one thing - say a big bowl of pasta salad - than to make several items for a meal. Imagine a system that matches you with the neighbors who have complementary dishes, and you all get together to trade Tupperware containers with your contribution. The system would keep track of whether you gave more than you got, and even things out over time."

Not so much. Tried that in university (a mini cheaptopia where everyone is idealistic and shiny positive to begin with). Things to consider:
1. I'm a decent chef; Mo' down the street is a horrible cook -- so I wouldn't want eat anything he makes.
2. Scott, the hobo artist only makes kraft dinner and then comes over and takes my steak.
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
Does everyone who wants to live in Cheapatopia have to sign an agreement to abide by its rules? and what say will each citizen have in changing those rules. Does Cheapatopia have a mayor, does it need one? Will he /she be politically beholden to his campaign contributors... or perhaps to those who walk his dog the most?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
And why would I want get to know my neighbors better? Judging by their bumper stickers, they are all sociopaths and morons. I hope that they think that I am too.

:-)
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
"Parents know it's often easier to watch two kids that are amusing each other than one kid who has nothing productive to do"

It depends on the kid. Some kids are a joy to have around and some I wouldn't want in my house for any amount of money. Does your system account for these differences?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
How demoralizing will it be when you find out you were picked last, or not at all, by a computer to join a game? Now all the nerds can be mocked by their computer as well as by the jocks. Not that I would ever know what that was like, being the biggest and strongest I was always picked first.
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
These are better ideas than last time. Tech lowering transaction costs ftw.
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
Few things are more fun than a borrowed dog.
Ewwwwwwww. I have never met a dog that was any kind of fun in any way. What kind of fun is a dirty stupid animal that only wants to jump up on your leg and have you transfer some of its dirt to your hands, or transfer some of its saliva to your body? Seems like the kind of fun I have at the dentist. I have never met anyone that wanted a pet but didn't have one, but I've met dozens of people that the opposite problem. Maybe its a different situation where people are largely apartment dwellers. Is there a technical term for the universal problem of people only wanting what they can't have?
 
 
Jul 17, 2009
There are a couple of companies working on barter systems (or Karma points) that are gaining some users. Kashless.org and barterquest.com. This is clearly in the right direction of making cheapatopia a reality.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 17, 2009
"Few things are more fun than a borrowed dog."

I've always lived close to someone that I could borrow a dog from. They don't chew on your furniture, eat your food, or poop in your yard. But they still play fetch and wag their tail for you.
 
 
 
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