Should Camp Finances be Public?

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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Snow » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:58 pm

I make the ice cream in my camp, thanks. Perhaps I've even shared it with you, as I do with all BRC citizens I meet. its costs me way more than $150 a year to do so, and do I whine when its not repaid in showers? I seriously doubt you have a job, you sound like a self entitled leach. (if you're calling names, we can all stoop to that level, see how it works :mrgreen: ) Perhaps you should try contributing something besides negative attitude/energy, imagine the different reaction you'd get from your campmates.

and fyi I don't pay camp dues
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby trilobyte » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:13 am

You're not so much the bad guy as the bonehead. Looking to the org to regulate tens of thousands of camps because you made a bad decision is kind of ridiculous. Even if they would and could make all camps do what you ask, who's to stop you from making bad decisions then? You don't need Burning Man to add another layer of regulation and enforcement, you need to ask the right questions before you give people your money and make better decisions in life.

If you want transparency and possibly control on how the money is spent in your camp, either insist on it upfront (you know, before you give them your money), or better yet DO IT YOURSELF. That's right, run your own camp. You'd be surprised at how many camps were founded on the idea that somebody felt someone else was doing it wrong or they could do it better.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Eric » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:30 am

dontflipmejack wrote:It sounds like this board is full of robber baron/camp minions, must be nice to be in the "in group" did your camp daddies give you extra ice cream to "cool the burn???"


It's amazing to me that 99% of the responses disagree with you, yet you cling to the idea that you were utterly blameless and that someone else was a "robber baron". Personally, if I get this much disagreement I might want to look deeply at what happened and see if my actions played a role in the outcome.

Sadly, you came in determined that you were victimized and that it's everyone elses' fault because you were simply blameless, and seem to be incapable of listening to what anyone says, other than the fact that we disagree & are therefor part of some sort of "in group" of... fuck if I know. My camp doesn't charge dues so I'm not sure how I'm either one of your fantasy "robber barons" or "minions". Of course, my camp doesn't really provide anything except space & a basic shade structure, so I don't expect anything.

It's time to grow a pair & start planning for next year. This year was fucked for you, no amount of whinging on the internet is going to change that. I think you should honestly plan on camping solo next year (or in a group with no dues/ no shared infrastructure) & see what it actually costs for one person to camp out there. Pay for your own water, food, shelter, shade, booze, sound, mixers, chairs, sunshower, water for sunshower, transportation for you & your entire camp-setup to & from the playa... everything. Then pay to store the stuff for 2014.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby dontflipmejack » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:43 am

trilobyte wrote:You're not so much the bad guy as the bonehead. Looking to the org to regulate tens of thousands of camps because you made a bad decision is kind of ridiculous. Even if they would and could make all camps do what you ask, who's to stop you from making bad decisions then? You don't need Burning Man to add another layer of regulation and enforcement, you need to ask the right questions before you give people your money and make better decisions in life.

If you want transparency and possibly control on how the money is spent in your camp, either insist on it upfront (you know, before you give them your money), or better yet DO IT YOURSELF. That's right, run your own camp. You'd be surprised at how many camps were founded on the idea that somebody felt someone else was doing it wrong or they could do it better.


Thanks....I did get carried away with the talk about suing the borg. I take the "decomodification" principle seriously, maybe there was a time when others did too but I think the $$$ went to some people's heads.

I'm already thinking of the ideal camp to create or join, and it would HAVE TO BE not for profit. I know you need money, but just let people know where it's going. And maybe as the camp gets bigger have a council of 3-4 people to make decisions, b/c dictatorships dont usually work.

Also, many of the camps were overdoing it with the sound systems, you dont really need a 10k watt system to have a good time or a full-time DJ. Just a simple stereo set up with a few household size speakers is sufficient - I know that would still require a generator.......I'm still thinking of a way around bring a generator. I liked how some camps used the solar powered lights but that didn't always work either.

Basically I would keep things SIMPLE. I know there are things you need that arn't cheap (like a shade structure) but craigslist is a great resouce and a lot of stuff is FREE or very cheap, like sofas and other furniture.

Planning is probably more important than $$$ IMO
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:53 am

dontflipmejack wrote:It sounds like this board is full of robber baron/camp minions, must be nice to be in the "in group" did your camp daddies give you extra ice cream to "cool the burn???"


dysfunction.jpg
dysfunction.jpg (21.51 KiB) Viewed 3092 times


But hey, maybe you're right? Hell, that's what separates the prophets from the squabbling masses. Still, I think you're just talking from a position of someone who has never actually had to manage anything.

I'm starting my own camp next year. Like the Socialist Republic of BRC or something like that. And unlike many here I wont profiteer from others and shame on anyone who does. If we get $1k or $5k or $10k in dues it will be spent on the GREATER GOOD or returned, I have a REAl job and I dont need to earn $$ through deceptive means.

Again shame on all of you who think it's okay to profit from Burning Man!


Awesome! Put your money where your mouth is. We'll see how your project works out. I don't have high hopes considering how these silly notions of true socialism have (not) worked in the real world. I'm thinking you'll quickly become disillusioned: trying to justify the cost of time you spend, or the labor you've invested; explaining how you're padding budgets in case something goes wrong; determining "fair" reimbursement of spare funds based on camp use, merit, labor, contribution, etc.

Or maybe you'll go the route of all those naive folk who thought that they could create an ideal society without sugardaddies... and abuse your power, practice nepotism, foster corruption, or simply return to the old ways you thought you could do better than.

Good luck dude! Really, if it turns out let us know.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby dontflipmejack » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:58 am

It's amazing to me that 99% of the responses disagree with you, yet you cling to the idea that you were utterly blameless and that someone else was a "robber baron". Personally, if I get this much disagreement I might want to look deeply at what happened and see if my actions played a role in the outcome.

Sadly, you came in determined that you were victimized and that it's everyone elses' fault because you were simply blameless, and seem to be incapable of listening to what anyone says, other than the fact that we disagree & are therefor part of some sort of "in group" of... fuck if I know. My camp doesn't charge dues so I'm not sure how I'm either one of your fantasy "robber barons" or "minions". Of course, my camp doesn't really provide anything except space & a basic shade structure, so I don't expect anything.

It's time to grow a pair & start planning for next year. This year was fucked for you, no amount of whinging on the internet is going to change that. I think you should honestly plan on camping solo next year (or in a group with no dues/ no shared infrastructure) & see what it actually costs for one person to camp out there. Pay for your own water, food, shelter, shade, booze, sound, mixers, chairs, sunshower, water for sunshower, transportation for you & your entire camp-setup to & from the playa... everything. Then pay to store the stuff for 2014.


Eric, I understand what you're saying, I really do and you have some valid points BUT Burning Man is definitely not about lets go out and make a killing profit wise and screw everyone else that gets in my way (that would be called the "rat race" we ALL know so well. Mine was a camp of have's and have nots, the luxury "coaches" the team players were riding in made that clear, and I confirmed from several sources that had no reason to lie that camp resources paid for them. Yes, it ticked me off. No I dont hate rich people just people who lie and take advantage of others, that really pissed me off.

Okay, so I screwed up b/c I TRUSTED people, well sorry, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and that wont change. And no my burn wasn't screwed-up, I left camp on Wednesday and camped solo the rest of the week. It wasn't the most fun camping by myself but I did meet some really great people who I hope meet up with next year I've already added a few new friends to fb so overall I came out ahead.

p.s. I dont think you're a robber barron or minion
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Snow » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:01 am

lol@making a killing from a camp. try some reality, its tasty
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby dontflipmejack » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:05 am

Awesome! Put your money where your mouth is. We'll see how your project works out. I don't have high hopes considering how these silly notions of true socialism have (not) worked in the real world. I'm thinking you'll quickly become disillusioned: trying to justify the cost of time you spend, or the labor you've invested; explaining how you're padding budgets in case something goes wrong; determining "fair" reimbursement of spare funds based on camp use, merit, labor, contribution, etc.

Or maybe you'll go the route of all those naive folk who thought that they could create an ideal society without sugardaddies... and abuse your power, practice nepotism, foster corruption, or simply return to the old ways you thought you could do better than.

Good luck dude! Really, if it turns out let us know.


You're right, that is why you have to keep things SIMPLE, or a least try to. The generators and maze of wires really needs to go (in our camp anyway). I think everything but the sound system can be powered by alernate means.........or at the very least simplified. Still thinking about that one.

Oh yeah, it was almost a relief when the borg truck played free bird during the burn.......every other song in our camp had a "nigger" or f**k in it. It just clouds your thinking. IMO
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:09 am

You should be more concerned that the price you paid was worth it to you rather than what that money was spent on, or what might have been the profit.

It's like being outraged that convenient stores pay pennies on the dollar for fountain drink syrup and water. Will you then fill your cup up with only ice (the most expensive part) just to get your money's worth? That's silly. The question you should be asking is: was the price of the drink worth it to you? That's what matters.

Concentrate on the value you gain from things. I think you'll have a lot less stress, and feel a lot more content.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby dontflipmejack » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:17 am

BBadger wrote:You should be more concerned that the price you paid was worth it to you rather than what that money was spent on, or what might have been the profit.

It's like being outraged that convenient stores pay pennies on the dollar for fountain drink syrup and water. Was the price of the drink worth it to you? That's what matters.

Concentrate on the value you gain from things. I think you'll have a lot less stress, and feel a lot more content.


I understand what you're saying probably better than anyone here, I'm a frequent visitor to Las Vegas and their nightclubs. Does $40 to get into a club sound reasonable??? Or $14 coors lights?? And thats low end stuff.

I think the casinos in Vegas could learn a few things from BM. For example walk through a casino sometime and look at peoples faces, does it look like they're having a good time?? Not really. IMO In general, the idea in Vegas or at Burning Man is to have FUN. Whether that be by enjoying the art, socializing, ect, ect.

On the otherhand we dont want BM to be more like Vegas than it already is!! And I'm serious that maybe a little bit more needs to be done about the robber baron types, exactly what I dont know
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Snow » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:20 am

show me ANY evidence of these robber barons who you think run rampant on the playa.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:10 am

dontflipmejack wrote:I understand what you're saying probably better than anyone here, I'm a frequent visitor to Las Vegas and their nightclubs. Does $40 to get into a club sound reasonable??? Or $14 coors lights?? And thats low end stuff.


Sure does sound reasonable, because it is all relative. I get drinks for free at Burning Man; is that reasonable? Anyway, if you're actually dropping that kind of cash, you haven't hit that threshold where going out on a night on the town isn't worth the price to you. If that were the case you'd vote with your feet. However, you're obviously getting some value out of it if you are actually participating in the transaction.

I think the casinos in Vegas could learn a few things from BM. For example walk through a casino sometime and look at peoples faces, does it look like they're having a good time?? Not really. IMO In general, the idea in Vegas or at Burning Man is to have FUN. Whether that be by enjoying the art, socializing, ect, ect.


And yet the casinos are still very profitable. Vegas casinos don't need to learn anything from Burning Man. They understand people at Vegas better than anyone and that's why the strip is the way it is. They've even figured out that they don't need to charge dirt-cheap prices on food/booze anymore to just get people in the house for gambling. Even Subways on the strip doesn't honor $5-footlongs.

Remember, people don't go to Vegas for the same reasons they go to Burning Man. People go to Vegas because they want Vegas. Nobody forces those people to go into clubs for $40, buy shitty beer for $12 a can, or Subways sandwiches for $9. Nobody forces gamblers to sit at slot machines all day pressing the button. People can do what they want, and businesses will price and so long as they're not negatively impacting my experience, more power to them. If you don't like it, vote with your feet.

And yet here you are embracing something entirely different. The total irony of your suggestion of a "socialist" type of camp is that socialism is first and foremost about forced conformance. You're forced to contribute to the system so that you receive the same benefits from the system. Sure there are some benefits with regards to "fairness" (ideally) and resource distribution (if that is your prerogative), but ultimately, it comes at the cost of your own choices.

Back to the value and cost. For myself, I don't care where my $50 goes after I pay for camp dues. If the surplus goes into the pockets of the camp operators, so be it. I can't price the amount of prep and shit the camp organizers deal with; I don't want to, and I'm glad that someone else does it. I get what I want from the camp, things run fine, my camp obligations are small, and I have a great time. $50 well spent. Capitalism is all about charging a premium for something someone else cannot or is not willing to provide or do himself. Embrace it.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:41 am

dontflipmejack wrote:
BBadger wrote:You should be more concerned that the price you paid was worth it to you rather than what that money was spent on, or what might have been the profit.

It's like being outraged that convenient stores pay pennies on the dollar for fountain drink syrup and water. Was the price of the drink worth it to you? That's what matters.

Concentrate on the value you gain from things. I think you'll have a lot less stress, and feel a lot more content.


I understand what you're saying probably better than anyone here, I'm a frequent visitor to Las Vegas and their nightclubs. Does $40 to get into a club sound reasonable??? Or $14 coors lights?? And thats low end stuff.

I think the casinos in Vegas could learn a few things from BM. For example walk through a casino sometime and look at peoples faces, does it look like they're having a good time?? Not really. IMO In general, the idea in Vegas or at Burning Man is to have FUN. Whether that be by enjoying the art, socializing, ect, ect.

On the otherhand we dont want BM to be more like Vegas than it already is!! And I'm serious that maybe a little bit more needs to be done about the robber baron types, exactly what I dont know



Sooooooo, you'll spend $150 on a night in vegas, but $150 for a weeks camp dues pisses you off?

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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby tummler » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:21 am

Did you by any chance previously tell the world about your experience with Green Tortoise at Burning Man?

(sorry, couldn't help myself)
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:43 am

Who is making a profit off of their theme camp ? Not Camp DOA. We charge $ 100 dues ( which is going to have to go up for 2013 ). We collected $ 2350.00. We spent $ 4650.00 on fine wine, champagne, cocktails ( all of which was consumed by the fine folks of Black Rock City - thank you my friends ) and a trailer. Still worth every penny IMO !! Even if the difference came right out of my pocket.

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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Dr. Pyro » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:32 pm

$2350? Where did you come up with 23 1/2 people? That 1/2 person must have had a helluva time negotiating the playa.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:35 pm

The 5 core members of our camp kick in $250.00 apiece - only the other members are asked to contribute $ 100.00. " Cause we're trying to get rich off of somebody......... 8)
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Clarification of Terms

Postby Eric » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:16 pm

BBadger wrote:Awesome! Put your money where your mouth is. We'll see how your project works out. I don't have high hopes considering how these silly notions of true socialism have (not) worked in the real world.


BBadger wrote:And yet here you are embracing something entirely different. The total irony of your suggestion of a "socialist" type of camp is that socialism is first and foremost about forced conformance. You're forced to contribute to the system so that you receive the same benefits from the system. Sure there are some benefits with regards to "fairness" (ideally) and resource distribution (if that is your prerogative), but ultimately, it comes at the cost of your own choices.


Psst, BBadger buddy... you're committing the standard American act of confusing Socialism & Communism (one of my major pet peeves about our shitty education system)...

Socialism is where people pay higher taxes to contribute to higher benefits for all (health, education, welfare, etc) while being allowed to own & run private businesses & corporations and having a Democratic system of government (you know, opposition parties, the population wanting them in power, etc). In a socialist economy the state is concerned about the general welfare, but does not usually control production (this varies by country & industry) or individual actions. Even with the high taxes you can still make high wages - if you earn $10mil a year you still keep between $1-3mil after taxes, which is only chump change to the greedy. In communism the state decides what you get paid, and sets all prices.

Examples of full or partial socialist states from the last 60 years: Sweden, Germany (west), France, England, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan... In the US, Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, 401k & Pension Plans, FEMA, general infrastructure (roads, highways, bridges), police & fire depts, education... all have socialist antecedents in the idea that the community contributes to the betterment of all.

In many ways socialism works much better than the US system of capitalism, as you can tell by health costs, education levels, and the general welfare of the population. (the current economic crisis is not due to socialism but the same factors that destroyed ours, compiled with heavy lending to countries in the EU that weren't able to sustain that level of debt).

Communism is where the state controls everything & you're "forced to contribute to the system so the you receive benefits from the system". Almost always a one-party system, limited rights of the citizens, lots of corruption & inefficiency. Communism only works on a small scale (like a kibbutz or a commune), it's a total failure of a system for a country as there are no incentives to do better. Communism is an economic and political system, socialism is primarily an economic one.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby jkisha » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:03 pm

dontflipmejack wrote:
Oh yeah, it was almost a relief when the borg truck played free bird during the burn.......every other song in our camp had a "nigger" or f**k in it. It just clouds your thinking. IMO


This tells me all I need to know. You chose the wrong camp and you paid the price. (no pun intended)
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby illy dilly » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:13 pm

I was going to put in our little theme camps 2 cents........
So, I'd like to preface with the fact that our little camp everyone is a 'leader' or what ever the hell ya wanna call it. We don't really have camp dues as much as "Everyone splits the cost of gasoline, everyone splits the cost of booze/food/shade/propane/infrastructure.

Our camp financials are a complete open book. Almost to the point that each others wallets are an open book. But we are a small camp that does not really compare to the large theme camps with 'Camp Dues'.

In 2011 we were a little bit larger where some people didn't really care where they're money was going they just wanted to know how much. Even though people didn't really care I still made it a point to make sure that they understood exactly where every dollar was going so that everyone understood that everyone was putting in about the same amount.
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Re: Clarification of Terms

Postby mojitomato » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:12 pm

Eric wrote: Examples of full or partial socialist states from the last 60 years: Sweden, Germany (west), France, England, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan... In the US, Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, 401k & Pension Plans, FEMA, general infrastructure (roads, highways, bridges), police & fire depts, education... all have socialist antecedents in the idea that the community contributes to the betterment of all.

Sorry, but that's not entirely accurate either. Virtually all the nations you mention are social market economies and have some (or a lot of) social democratic history, but no truly socialist episodes in the last 60 years. Capitalism reigned, with some added social safety net. Neighboring nations that claimed socialism de facto only had mock democracy, with restrictive societies that you attribute to communism only.
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Re: Clarification of Terms

Postby BBadger » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:21 pm

Eric wrote:
BBadger wrote:Awesome! Put your money where your mouth is. We'll see how your project works out. I don't have high hopes considering how these silly notions of true socialism have (not) worked in the real world.


BBadger wrote:And yet here you are embracing something entirely different. The total irony of your suggestion of a "socialist" type of camp is that socialism is first and foremost about forced conformance. You're forced to contribute to the system so that you receive the same benefits from the system. Sure there are some benefits with regards to "fairness" (ideally) and resource distribution (if that is your prerogative), but ultimately, it comes at the cost of your own choices.


Psst, BBadger buddy... you're committing the standard American act of confusing Socialism & Communism (one of my major pet peeves about our shitty education system)...

Socialism is where people pay higher taxes to contribute to higher benefits for all (health, education, welfare, etc) while being allowed to own & run private businesses & corporations and having a Democratic system of government (you know, opposition parties, the population wanting them in power, etc). In a socialist economy the state is concerned about the general welfare, but does not usually control production (this varies by country & industry) or individual actions. Even with the high taxes you can still make high wages - if you earn $10mil a year you still keep between $1-3mil after taxes, which is only chump change to the greedy. In communism the state decides what you get paid, and sets all prices.


I get what you mean, but I mean what I said--but I'll definitely acknowledge that my second statement was not entirely correct. Communism to me is is just the extreme manifestation of socialism, and that was probably the term I should've used in the second statement. As for socialism, don't get me wrong, I think socialism has its place. I have definitely benefited from it. Many countries, as you have listed, implement socialist policies to the greater good--some to an extreme that I'd rather not participate in.

What I'm really trying to get at here is that people often jump to extremes when they're rejecting the "profiteering" that goes on in societies--camps in this case. Then these idyllic notions spring up that everything can work for the greater good without personal incentive or someone earning more than parity for their labor. These notions also seem to coincide with the belief that a perfect level of fair accountability can be enforced without also having an equally enforced level of contribution and benefit. So we end up with these funny "socialist republics of Burning Man" that will either not work as stated, be too unbearable to endure, or usually some mix of both. That's my "true socialism"--not the idea that there is socialism within groups because we agree that some things should be handled at a group level instead of individual.

Maybe this distinction isn't even valid? I dunno, but that's where I'm coming from. Fairness is about paying for what you think gives you value, and charging what is worth your time/effort.
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Re: Clarification of Terms

Postby dontflipmejack » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:35 pm

Psst, BBadger buddy... you're committing the standard American act of confusing Socialism & Communism (one of my major pet peeves about our shitty education system)...

Socialism is where people pay higher taxes to contribute to higher benefits for all (health, education, welfare, etc) while being allowed to own & run private businesses & corporations and having a Democratic system of government (you know, opposition parties, the population wanting them in power, etc). In a socialist economy the state is concerned about the general welfare, but does not usually control production (this varies by country & industry) or individual actions. Even with the high taxes you can still make high wages - if you earn $10mil a year you still keep between $1-3mil after taxes, which is only chump change to the greedy. In communism the state decides what you get paid, and sets all prices.

Examples of full or partial socialist states from the last 60 years: Sweden, Germany (west), France, England, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan... In the US, Social Security, Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, 401k & Pension Plans, FEMA, general infrastructure (roads, highways, bridges), police & fire depts, education... all have socialist antecedents in the idea that the community contributes to the betterment of all.

In many ways socialism works much better than the US system of capitalism, as you can tell by health costs, education levels, and the general welfare of the population. (the current economic crisis is not due to socialism but the same factors that destroyed ours, compiled with heavy lending to countries in the EU that weren't able to sustain that level of debt).

Communism is where the state controls everything & you're "forced to contribute to the system so the you receive benefits from the system". Almost always a one-party system, limited rights of the citizens, lots of corruption & inefficiency. Communism only works on a small scale (like a kibbutz or a commune), it's a total failure of a system for a country as there are no incentives to do better. Communism is an economic and political system, socialism is primarily an economic one.


Even the U.S. system of capitalism has MANY characteristics of socialism (the earned income tax credit - i.e. poor people who work are rewarded for having kids on tax day, grants for college - free governemnt money far surpases private scholarships by several fold, and stuff like section 8 housing and medicaid but I'm not exactly sure how those work but they are huge programs, not to mention SSI, ect ect.

Getting back to Burning Man, I disagree that burners need a profit motive to organize camps. It makes sense to award grants for art but camps dont require the same kind of investment art does (i.e. you can reuse last years camp supplies and still have a good camp). It's also kind of odd how the responses on this thread went from "F**k you, you're not intitled to any budget info" to some real burners sharing how camps SHOULD work.

I also think part of the problem is SOME people view a camp as THEIRS - you need to stop right there, sure the camp might have been your idea, and you helped plan/build the camp in years XXX BUT that doesn't mean the camp is YOURS. Camps should belong to their members (at that moment) - end of story, non negotiable.

Thats where the profit/business aspect of camps screws things up. IMO The business of business is to make $$$$$, take the profit out and you no longer have a business. Robber Baron Camp Leader can go franchise a Starbucks if he wants a business, but keep it off the Playa. JMHO

p.s. its good to hear about camps NOT being run for profit, I'm starting to get my confidence back here
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Re: Clarification of Terms

Postby BBadger » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:45 am

dontflipmejack wrote:I also think part of the problem is SOME people view a camp as THEIRS - you need to stop right there, sure the camp might have been your idea, and you helped plan/build the camp in years XXX BUT that doesn't mean the camp is YOURS. Camps should belong to their members (at that moment) - end of story, non negotiable.


No it's not the end of the story. It certainly can be theirs. They're the ones running the show, organizing things, filing paperwork, bringing in equipment, arriving early to setup, etc. Maybe it's not a single person, maybe it's a group. Maybe even a large group. Maybe even the entire camp. However, there is ownership. There's a power structure. People can be kicked out; members must pay dues to stay in the camp; members must coordinate with camp operators for resources such as space, etc.

The beauty of it all is that you can vote with your feet. Nobody is keeping you in a camp. Start your own camp. You can own it, and set your own rules. Maybe it'll be a sugardaddy camp where you cover all the expenses. Maybe it's a labor camp where there are no dues, only labor? Maybe you're sick of any other cooks stirring the broth, and you go it alone.

Thats where the profit/business aspect of camps screws things up. IMO The business of business is to make $$$$$, take the profit out and you no longer have a business. Robber Baron Camp Leader can go franchise a Starbucks if he wants a business, but keep it off the Playa.


Who cares? Don't like it, you can tell the ass poking inside your tent. Vote with your feet. The owners of camps can run their camps however they damn well please.

Hell, I'm surprised you haven't jumped all over BMORG for taking in more than they give out and, gosh, even selling coffee on the playa. Yeah, they make a profit, and sure, many people bitch, but most of us would "pay our dues" simply because we're getting what we want out of the event for what we pay. That's what that whole "not for profit" business designation is for: you can earn profit, but supposedly you're not made for the purpose of earning profit. Maybe that's what your original camp was all about? Or are they still just "robber barons"?
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby MegsLegs » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:06 am

A couple of years ago my camp added a "you should" committee to our leadership crew of 10 out of the 80 we camp with. Anyone who has an idea that starts with "you should" gets sent to the committee lead to be straightened out. There are always opportunities to contribute to the camp in a committee head capacity (because a few of us burn out every year leaving positions open) Committee heads negotiate their own budgets with the finance lead and the group at large. and get to look at the spreadsheets that show how the money is spent, we don't share this with the general members, because they have not yet shown an interest in helping us make the camp happen. First things first really.

I spent no less than 100 hours working on entertainment this year, and the items I prioritized for the budget might not have been everyone's choice- $240 for a Bass/hard case? Well, lots of bass players coming without a band aren't going to bring their instrument, and it's availability for walk ups made our afternoon pick up bands, and our blues jam AMAZING- I would have been very upset if the majority of camp members who pay their dues, do the minimum of shifts and just enjoy the camp had the opportunity to tell me how to spend my budget. The next entertainment head might prefer to invest in DJ equipment- and that'll be their prerogative.

Do-ocracy is one of those made up burning man words but an important one. What have you contributed to feel owed the budget? Some camps may set that criteria threshold as low as membership, others may require you to be on the leadership, others may have one camp head figure paying off the purchases they made in previous years out of their own pocket to make the camp happen in the first place. Burning man is a place where we can all seek our own people, and there is a camp for almost everyone, be it solo camping or a mega-theme-camp. Best of luck finding the right place for you!
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby pink » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:20 pm

I'm a more egalitarian sort, and I don't like the thought of anyone profiting off of the burn but the Borg, including the rental of big coaches for leaders only, and any type of plug n play. That said, vote with your feet and join a camp only if it meets with your requirements. Self-reliance includes doing your own research.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby percussivepaul » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:43 pm

Jesus tapdancing Christ. Decomodification: you're doing it wrong.

It's important to note that the camp dues are not the sum total of your contribution to the camp. They are the beginning of your contribution, the funds that allow the camp to decide that it shall exist. It still has to be created. The work of designing and building and operating the camp still has to be done, by everyone, but mostly by the camp leads, who often contribute the same dues as campers. It's a tremendous amount of work that you can't hope to understand until taking it on yourself; weeks and weeks of full-time work for many people. The best camp members dive into this task (both pre-playa and on-playa), ask for work and take on responsibilities, and in subsequent years rise to take on leadership roles in the camp, and before you know it they're volunteering with the org and building art cars and whatever. These are the people who build the city and we love them and we need them. I'd say in most camps the typical camp member shows up and helps out a little, but has to be told what to do (e.g. through scheduled shifts), otherwise they'll just lie around and have fun... these people are neither good nor bad, but their financial contribution helps make the camp possible. And finally, some members actively hurt the camp by leaving messes everywhere (creating work for other people), or by creating drama; these are the people that test our patience, frustrate us, and get in our way when things need to be done when they could be helping.

I get that your camp seems to have a skewed fee structure, I really get it, I can easily imagine a situation arising where camp leads take advantage of their members and I can believe that this happened in your case. But that's not the problem. The problem is that you're viewing your camp fees as a transaction that is supposed to get you things (shade, booze, hot showers) rather than a contribution to help create the camp. You're bitter that your money didn't give you what you thought it would and you're calling your credit card company to complain, and you're asking for regulations on all camps. Read it again:

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
(my emphasis)

Your problem is that you view your camp fees as a transaction, and that you were engaged with your camp as a consumer of services and infrastructure rather than a participant in their creation. You view your camp as a commodity and you are failing at decommodification. In most camps the fees exist only to spread the financial burden which would otherwise fall heavily on the camp leads. You did not purchase anything with your dues, and that payment does not mean the camp owes you anything in return. You paid some money to help equalize the costs of creating a camp. The camp was created and (hopefully) created some positive experiences for the citizens of the city, which is the whole point. By the way: The purpose of theme camps is NOT to pamper campers. Theme camps are for the citizens of the city to enjoy. How was your burn, anyway? What was your contribution to the city? Don't lose sight of what matters here.

If there are camps that are turning a profit or deliberately having camp fees subsidize private luxury or whatever, then they are taking advantage of people and that's not cool (but I don't know any camps that operate like that -- it would have to be a minuscule portion -- and frankly having done a shitload of work for my camp this year I am all in favour of camp-subsidized luxury RV's for the camp leads, and I'm only half-joking.) But do you see how this problem goes away if they have no-one to prey on? You can only get swindled (or feel you got swindled) if you're paying for something. The more the camp is advertised as a service you're paying for, the higher the chance your fees are not being spread evenly. Your attitude and approach make you vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Avoid camps that seem like they are selling you something -- look for those who are all about creation and participation (the vast majority at Burning Man).

You're asking for regulation of camps and budgets and fees and the only road that leads to is institutionalizing commodification, turning camps into travel/tour operators. The way forward is the other direction. Instead of buying, join in and create. All your problems will melt away.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Trishntek » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:03 am

Personally, I'd be thrilled to no end to only pay $150 to join a camp.

But since you are offering to be a partner, would you please store my 5000 cubic feet of camp shit at your place? Oh,,, and clean it up while you are at it,,,, and please make an inventory so I can just go shopping before next year's burn. And come March, if you could have our questionnaire ready to go with at least FOUR different layout plans that would be wonderful!
RetrofrolicDaySM.jpg
RetrofrolicDaySM.jpg (78.39 KiB) Viewed 2792 times

Oh, and since you don't like all those silly wires lighting your way around camp, I'll keep the power grid out of your sight, with the batteries charged just for those who appreciate a few creature comforts. And please keep your gray water and trash in your own tent? Heaven forbid we seem to make a profit off your waste!
WindyNationSM.jpg
WindyNationSM.jpg (71.46 KiB) Viewed 2792 times

And all we ask for is participation,,, after all that is what is due the camp, is it not?
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby Major Mallet » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:34 am

Dontflipmejack: While I appreciate your passion and understand your position, it was your responsibility as a radically self-reliant participant to research the camp before you decided to join them. Even if you have done your due diligence, there is always some risk involved when joining a new group of people for the first time. This is true on the playa as it is in life.

Next, you have received a lot of solid wisdom and advice (along with the obligatory dose of snark) from a lot of experienced burners. I suggest that you give their comments the consideration they deserve. I can assure you – as a fourth year burner and middle aged man – that you are never too experienced or too old to learn something new from other people. This is one of the top reasons why I go to the Burn every year.

Finally, I think it would be quite enlightening (and rewarding) if you were to put together a camp based on a set of your clearly articulated principles. You will gain both the joy of executing the camp as well as the practical knowledge of the major challenges involved. You may find that not all member contributions or uses of a camp are easily measured. How does one compare the monetary contribution of one person versus the non-monetary contribution of another? Conversely, is taking two beers more than the average camper worse than a camp member constantly creating dissention and drama? These are some of the more intangible challenges camp leaders face. Taking a leadership position in a camp of your design may cause a shift in your perceptions of other camp leaders. It may not. Welcome to Burning Man.

My advice is to chalk up the $150 to experience. I am certain you (like the rest of us) have spent more money and received less for it at other times in the past. Put that energy towards creating the experience you want based on your interpretation of the Burning Man principles. Do this and you will find your place on the playa. I wish you luck in your quest.
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Re: Should Camp Finances be Public?

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:50 pm

percussivepaul wrote:...but mostly by the camp leads, who often contribute the same dues as campers.

I'm certain that they often contribute more money than the official dues.
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