Commune, Compound, Ranch, City-State

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It's amusing just how one's philosophical, political and cultural affinities might incline one to call self sustaining properties which have essentially the same function by different names. Certainly, the outlier is the city-state, which may just require more resources and a more solid hierarchy to see itself sustained. A ranch always sounds romantic and relaxed even in its labor. The compound has more of a highly militarized, religious quality to it; more or less a ranch with more guns and weird sexual practices. The commune operates on the assumption that it is basically better than anything that operates non-commune (which means God knows what).

What would a proper and fair empire look like in a world in which such communities were the prefered social organization? They obviously each have pretty varied social implications, as I said in the beginning. Mutual understanding between varied cultures could perhaps be smoothed over with voluntary councils, the way gangs and tribes operating outside of the law do organically. I imagine the whole 'sister city' idea would be useful; a commune with vegetables could learn how to shoot at the ranch next door, etcetera.