Jim + Sally create a family clan with Dan + Steve. Amongst them there are 5 children. Dan loses his job and the finances get tight. Steve is supportive of Dan taking a new job, but it is a two hr commute each way. That means that his duties taking the kids to school on tues and thurs will have to be shifted to Sally or Jim (Steve can’t drive due to a vision issue). Both Jim and Sally are already working long days and would prefer for Dan to just keep looking for another job closer to home. Many meetings and many arguments ensue.
In this way, a PMFC just seems to create more entanglement between adults who would otherwise be free to make independent decisions.
Your proposal made me think of that family setup. How would a multi parent family unit deal with personal relationships? In the show, every parent was “married” to each other and they collectively engaged intercourse as a group. In reality I bet people would have favorites and that would collapse the parental dynamic.
There's a reason this traditionally happens in situations of consanginuity: there are strong per-existing bonds that are considered non-negotiable due to existing social structures.
A family is a tribe. The support is mutual and unconditional. It's postmodern because to embrace this sense of belonging you need to renounce part of your individuality and indipendence, values that are deemed sacred by modern society.
Indeed, even many Americans lived in this type of arrangement up until the WWII era. And the benefits to this living arrangement are significant: multiple income streams provide resiliency against sudden sickness and death, better living quarters, available childcare instead of having to pay someone outside the family to do so, etc.
Unfortunately, modern Western society has decided that living in multigenerational living arrangements is shameful, and indicates failure.
I support the idea of this author's "postmodern family clan" (although I don't like the name). Particularly for those people who don't have extended family, suffer from abuse from family members, or are estranged from their extended family. However, we should also consider the advantages of the living arrangements enjoyed by much (most?) of the world's population -- the extended, multigenerational family unit.
I disagree. Already, there's a significant movement underway in the US called "co-living", which shares a lot of the features described by the author:
The parents being unmarried doesn't mean that the father is out of the picture.
The main reason I brought up coliving was as a counterexample to the claim that multi-couple cohabitation could never work. Even though the number of participants is currently quite low, there are thousands of people successfully living like this even in modern America.
But it's worth knowing that such families were not common everywhere. Nuclear families have certainly been the rule in England for at least 500 years (we have good data) and likely much longer. France is the same, but Russia is different, IIRC.
I know, I know, some people really are embracing simplicity and being unencumbered by the responsibilities past generations faced. However, what these types of stories are really saying is; sorry but because of inflation and the ponzi scheme that is our financial system you young folks are just not going to have what your parents and grandparents had so you'd better start embracing things like family cohabitation and tiny homes.
Instead of accepting this drivel I'd really like to see the gen Zers call bullshit and start demanding that they can be plumbers, electricians, nurses etc. AND still have single, detached family dwellings in Palo Alto.
I'm pleasantly surprised whenever I see a Tiny Home that isn't a death-trap with a single exit.
Note that the trends in the sizes of new homes completed are a little misleading, I think, as they reflect boom suburbs, rather than the occupied stock. Not an expert, but here's an attempt to track the floor area of occupied housing, and it's much closer to flat (US, 20th C):
The problem is I also want to live close to work. So it's all about trying to find that balance of cost, space and proximity that makes it all very difficult.
But the issue just isn't as simple as people "accepting lower standards of living".
How about we live simpler lives and yet become wealthier?
And I have no idea why would we want to all live in single detached home when the alternative is to densify and reduce humanity's footprint on nature.
I realise that baby boomers have inherited all of the resources and have no interest in using it to better future generations. I can call them out on their entitled bullshit and they can call me entitled and lazy, but at the end of the day I need some where to live or I will die from exposure.
When the reality of the situation sets in buying a house without a mortgage thats paying baby boomers to cruise the world is the biggest fuck you I can give them.
The ideas proposed in the article seem completely delusional to me. I would consider staying on good terms with a former partner a success, and being cool with their new partner a nice bonus. Moving in with those guys, even shouldering that other dude's unemployment, as the article suggests? An unfair, possibly disrespectful proposal.
Stereotypically, it could be the idea of someone who likes to have both the earning power and stability of the former, and the curious attractiveness of the new parter, conveniently combined in one household?
Fundamentally, the idea of a 'clan' goes contrary to the overarching trend of Individualism, which has brought us so many individual freedoms but dismantled so many formal and informal social constructs. Individualists will not submit to an artificial 'clan' unless forced by massive external pressure. A struggle to survive that has created those social constructs in the first place.
He predicted something similar to this, and called it S-Groups.
Or maybe the human race can transcend the nuclear family, I guess we will find out soon enough.
Yes, of course!