' a socialist community was a relatively small, voluntary association of people holding property in common, sharing the burdens of work, and distributing the wealth they created in a relatively egalitarian way.' is of course the correct starting point. Add in the correct details and it all works splendidly.
Those details are critical. They are as follows:
1 The operating size of the community needs to be 150 +- 20 in order to be optimal and socially stable. We know this from sociology and anthropology. In the urban environment they can even be virtual although this loses economies.
2 The community needs to be governed by the rule of twelve which is a set of governance rules allowing project leadership to be appointed, credit to be assigned and disputes to be resolved amongst other issues. The rule of twelve will have the following authorities:
a) pass major issues to a community vote.
b) Deal on all issues under its mandate as approved by the community. normally credit decisions, leadership issues, and disputes.
c) Report to the community at large.
The twelve consists of six leaders and a deputy chosen by each of the six to act as an understudy and in one's absence. a quorum consists of the six or their understudy.
All meetings are called by a third party Caller who maintains a record of proceedings. The Caller hears requests for a meeting from anyone and calls the meeting as deemed required by urgency or workload.
Participation in leadership should involve recognized speaking to the land in which the individual has shown good husbandry to all.
3 The community operates a computer based banking system for its internal currency and this is independent from external currencies but interchangeable depending on available surpluses. much more important is that this facility can create loans for internal consumption in order to employ individuals inside the community. This is meant to monetize community investment and wealth creation and avoid any exploited labor in particular. Twelve year olds can earn a wage for a four hour or two hour duty shift.
This system will work ideally alongside an agricultural base that can respond well to opportunities to produce earning labor internally. Otherwise we have external incomes providing internal demand and external capital for other needs.
The failure of the socialist community was not the idea itself but monetary ignorance and the failure to empower community wealth creation. So long as an elite chose to monopolize fiat currency production the poor remained poor. Where they took total control, all became poor.
Socialism needs to be about empowering the internal credit of a community of 150. After that is done, the rising base will produce massive surpluses quite able to finance larger necessary infrastructure as well. The rule of twelve can be used to guide that as well.