Great claims can be made for the virtues of campsite culture, but don’t overdo the hype
The Oxford philosopher GA Cohen thought that a camping trip was a good model of what socialism might look like. When we go camping, claimed Cohen, “there is no hierarchy among us; our common aim is that each of us should have a good time, doing, so far as possible, the things that he or she likes best”. During a camping trip all the campers have control of the means of production. “Even if they are privately owned things, they are under collective control for the duration of the trip,” Cohen explained.
A camping trip becomes an occasion when “people cooperate within a common concern that, so far as is possible, everybody has a roughly similar opportunity to flourish, and also to relax, on condition that she contributes, appropriately to her capacity, to the flourishing and relaxing of others”. If things go as they should, “even most anti-egalitarians accept – indeed, take for granted – norms of equality and reciprocity”.