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Post Tagged with: "The Commons"

Energy cooperative from the US, Touchstone Energy (http://www.touchstoneenergy.com/) Photo by David Ingram CC-BY-NC2.0

Is Renewable Energy A Commons?

How relocating energy in the commons helps scaling-up renewables & saving energy Is energy a mere commodity, or is it a common good? Why is this relevant in the first place? Here we look at why energy is part of our commons, from the sources to the product itself. In a second time, we will see that relocating energy in[Read More…]

The Future Is A Pluriverse

The Future Is A Pluriverse

Some believe that the commons are incompatible with commodity markets. Others claim that markets and commons may form mutually beneficial relations with each other. What are your own views on this issue? I think it is entirely possible for markets and commons to “play nicely together,” but only if commoners can have “value sovereignty” over their resources and community governance. [Read More…]

Nine Key Political Propositions For Building The Commons

Nine Key Political Propositions For Building The Commons

The following piece is extracted from a series of reviews on Common: An Essay on Revolution in the 21st Century, a book by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, from which Martin O’Shaughnessy summarizes the authors´ nine political propositions: In an earlier post (here), I summed up Dardot and Laval’s position on how we should think the common. What I want to do[Read More…]

Our Common Oceans And Seas

Our Common Oceans And Seas

The United Nations is currently preparing a world conference 5-7 June 2017 devoted to the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal N° 14: Conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the U.N. are invited to submit recommendations for the governmental working group which is meeting 24 to 27 April[Read More…]

Re-imagining Value: Insights From The Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace And Nature

Re-imagining Value: Insights From The Care Economy, Commons, Cyberspace And Nature

What is “value” and how shall we protect it?  It’s a simple question for which we don’t have a satisfactory answer. For conventional economists and politicians, the answer is simple:  value is essentially the same as price. Value results when private property and “free markets” condense countless individual preferences and purchases into a single, neutral representation of value:  price.  That[Read More…]

What Permaculture Can Teach Us About Commons

What Permaculture Can Teach Us About Commons

As a developed set of social practices, techniques and ethical norms, permaculture has a lot to say to the world of the commons.  This is immediately clear from reading the twelve design principles of permaculture that David Holmgren enumerated in his 2002 book Permaculture: Principles and Practices Beyond Sustainability.  It mentions such principles as “catch and store energy,” “apply self-regulation[Read More…]

Value In The Commons Economy

Value In The Commons Economy

What is at the heart of the problems erupting worldwide? Is anything good emerging from these multiple crises? Can a new system grow from within the old one? Is it already here, visible and thriving? These questions are addressed by Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Niaros in this report, Value in the Commons Economy, co-published by Heinrich Böll Foundation and the[Read More…]

United Against Programmed Obsolescence

United Against Programmed Obsolescence

In Argentina, people with damaged or broken items meet to repair them at the Repair Club. You can find them on Saturday afternoons, in a park, plaza or workshop, involved in what looks like a strange choreography: they’re not buying or selling, eating or dancing. Instead, they’re repairing things. Clothes, home appliances, toys, books, bicycles: even the most hopeless items[Read More…]

Communes In Venezuela: Experiments In Direct Democracy

Communes In Venezuela: Experiments In Direct Democracy

Latin America is a witness to experiments by leftward leaning heads of states particularly in Venezuela, Bolivia and Equador. These are often seen as anti-US, anti-market, autocratic and have been demonized in the western media. These shifts happened after growing discontent with devastating effects of neoliberal policies in these countries. New leaders such as Hugo Chavez, Evo Molares and Rafael[Read More…]

Chennai Poromboke Paadal ft. TM Krishna

Chennai Poromboke Paadal ft. TM Krishna

Poromboke is an old Tamil word meaning shared-use community resources like waterbodies, seashore and grazing lands that are not assessed for tax purposes. Today, it has become a bad word used to describe worthless people or places. Chennai Poromboke Paadal is part of a campaign to reclaim the word and restore its worth. Credits: Featuring TM Krishna Concept: Nityanand Jayaraman[Read More…]

Can Commons Thinking Drive A New Health System?

Can Commons Thinking Drive A New Health System?

Cat Johnson: What would it take to move from planetary imbalance into a state of sustained health and healing? In a recent report, Jamie Harvie, Executive Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Future and founder of the Commons Health Network, argues that we need a new health system, one based on a “profound appreciation of the complexity and interconnectedness of life across[Read More…]

Barcelona’s Brave Struggle To Advance The Commons

Barcelona’s Brave Struggle To Advance The Commons

On a visit to Barcelona last week, I learned a great deal about the City’s pioneering role in developing “the city as a commons.”  I also learned that crystallizing a new commons paradigm – even in a city committed to cooperatives and open digital networks – comes with many gnarly complexities. The Barcelona city government is led by former housing[Read More…]

Anything But Disruptive: Blockchain, Capital And A Case Of Fourth Industrial Age Enclosure

Anything But Disruptive: Blockchain, Capital And A Case Of Fourth Industrial Age Enclosure

A critical turn is needed in discussions of blockchain — the tech that underpins the virtual currency bitcoin – especially with respect to it as a phenomenon of the so-called fourth industrial age.1 Many have been swept-up in (if not duped by) the swell of excitement around a technological architecture which appeared, at first sight, to puncture the power and[Read More…]

Non And Sub-State Actors In The International Climate Change Regime

Non And Sub-State Actors In The International Climate Change Regime

Climate change is viewed by many as a classic case of ‘tragedy of the commons’ i.e. anything used commonly and freely by people is not cared for by anyone. ‘Commons’ are usually natural resources such as air, land, water, forests, and fish. Thus, they are not anybody’s private property. The most cited example of this ‘tragedy’ is that of overgrazing[Read More…]

A Moment That Illuminates Our Structural Challenges

A Moment That Illuminates Our Structural Challenges

At least we have some clarity.  The mystifications and rationalizations are evaporating.  If nothing else, the election of Donald Trump illuminates many of the deep structural problems that we need to face squarely. While most post-election commentary is focused on Trump and the political realignment in Washington, I think the bigger stories are the tectonic shifts in the neoliberal political[Read More…]

Crowdsourcing The Food Commons Transition: De-Commodifying Food One Movement At A Time

Crowdsourcing The Food Commons Transition: De-Commodifying Food One Movement At A Time

In the 2011 dystopian film In Time, Justin Timberlake works literally to earn his living, as the monthly currency is additional time for living. Billionaires can live for thousands of years, practically becoming immortals, while poor people struggle to survive every day, many of them failing in that endeavour. This science fiction film resembles painstakingly our real world, although instead[Read More…]

The Resilience Of An Indigenous Ethiopian Commons

The Resilience Of An Indigenous Ethiopian Commons

Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest, most effective conservation management systems in sub-Saharan Africa, the Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area, an 11,100-hectare region that is home to a rich endowment of grasslands, plants and rare animals such as the Ethiopian wolf, gelada and Abyssinian hare. The history of the indigenous land tenure system known as Atsme Irist 1 reveals a[Read More…]

The Role Of Memory And Identity In The Obştea Forest Commons Of Romania

The Role Of Memory And Identity In The Obştea Forest Commons Of Romania

In the Vrancea Mountains of Romania, the Eastern Carpathians, people in dozens of villages have used community-based institutions known as obştea to manage forest commons since the sixteenth century.1 The original sense of the word, coming from Slavonic, is “togetherness,” and it underlines the participatory essence of the institution. The traditions of obştea are so deeply rooted among Vrâncean villagers[Read More…]

The Failure Of Land Privitization: On The Need For New Development Policies

The Failure Of Land Privitization: On The Need For New Development Policies

As soon as we start speaking about “globalization,” we inevitably associate it with the excessive financial markets that are disconnected from the real economy. There is less public awareness of another type of globalization that also involves the forced unification of institutions all over the world: the institution of private property and privatization strategies. The driving forces behind this development[Read More…]

Transforming Global Resources Into Commons

Transforming Global Resources Into Commons

The greatest problem of our time is that for centuries we have been steadily weaned away from treating our common resources responsibly and carefully so that they can either regenerate or be repaired or replaced after use. Until the Middle Ages local resources such as pastures, woods and fishing waters were really handled that way. But since the 16th century,[Read More…]

Ideas For Change: Making Meaning Out Of Economic And Institutional Diversity

Ideas For Change: Making Meaning Out Of Economic And Institutional Diversity

The ideas and theories of Elinor Ostrom, one of the world’s leading economic scholars studying the way people in communities cooperate (or don’t), have inspired their own collective action hub. It includes students and scholars of many disciplines as well as people actively involved in managing community water use, organizing fishing industries, delivering urban services, and operating coop­eratives. This “hub”[Read More…]

The Common Heritage Of Mankind: A Bold Doctrine Kept Within Strict Boundaries

The Common Heritage Of Mankind: A Bold Doctrine Kept Within Strict Boundaries

The “common heritage of mankind” is an ethical concept and a general concept of international law. It establishes that some localities belong to all humanity and that their resources are available for everyone’s use and benefit, taking into account future generations and the needs of developing countries. It is intended to achieve aspects of the sustainable development of common spaces[Read More…]

Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights And The Commons

Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights And The Commons

If the human species is going to overcome the many interconnected ecological catastrophes now confronting us, this moment in history requires that we entertain some bold modifications of our legal structures and political culture. We must find the means to introduce new ideas for effective and just environmental protection – locally, nationally, regionally, globally, and points in between

Peer-To-Peer Economy And New Civilization Centered Around The Sustenance Of The Commons

Peer-To-Peer Economy And New Civilization Centered Around The Sustenance Of The Commons

The “peer to peer” and commons-oriented vision for a new type of civilization and economic system starts from an analysis of what is fundamentally wrong with the current economic system. Rather than put forward a utopian ideal, the P2P vision is based on generalizing the already emerging forms of peer production, peer governance, and peer property

El Buen Vivir And The Commons

El Buen Vivir And The Commons

Buen Vivir is a proposal aimed at making visible and expressible aspects of reality that are ignored by the dominant paradigm. It is a proposal from a radical and spiritual perspective of ecology, and is logically incompatible with development and industrialization. It speaks of the possibility of living in common, for which the very concept “development” is not only insufficient but mistaken.

Salt And Trade At The Pink Lake: Community Subsistence In Senegal

Salt And Trade At The Pink Lake: Community Subsistence In Senegal

In this essay, we look at the case of the “salt collectors” of the PinkLake, also called Lake Retba or Lac Rose, in the rural area of Dakar, Senegal, and the develop­ment of communities’ sustenance

Community Based Forest And Livelihood Management In Nepal

Community Based Forest And Livelihood Management In Nepal

The reintroduction of a multiparty system in Nepal in 1990 after the peaceful revolution against the autocratic Monarchial Panchayat regime1 provided political space for communities to get organized and manage common pool resources, including water and forest. The state established new policies and funding mechanisms to support the evolution of new types of grassroots-based, self-governing institutions. The energies released from this[Read More…]

Photo by John Vetterli

Re-Imagining The Polity For A Networked Humanity

The commons is no magic talisman, nor a panacea. Nor are network platforms. But they do enable us to rediscover that sovereignty does not ultimately reside in the state or market (especially in these times), but within ourselves, together.

 Share or Die: A Challenge For Our Times

 Share or Die: A Challenge For Our Times

About a year ago, a weather-beaten, middle-aged man asked me for money on the platform of the Mountain View Caltrain station. I gave him three dollars. He thanked me, and asked what I did for work. I introduced myself, learned his name, Jeff, and we shook hands. I pulled out a card from my computer bag, and handed it to[Read More…]

Learning From Minamata: Creating High-Level Well-Being In Local Communities In Japan

Learning From Minamata: Creating High-Level Well-Being In Local Communities In Japan

The path of Japan’s economic and social development after World War II has followed the trajectory of most industrialized countries: the pursuit of high economic growth on the assumption that higher per capita income would ensure people’s life satisfaction. But, according to a survey published by the Japanese central government, life satisfaction constantly declined from 1984 to 2005. Two out[Read More…]

Victory For Students And Access To Knowledge In DU Copyright Case: Corporate Publishers Market Ends At The Gates Of The University

Victory For Students And Access To Knowledge In DU Copyright Case: Corporate Publishers Market Ends At The Gates Of The University

By Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) In a rare and incredible order on 16th September 2016, the Delhi High Court dismissed the copyright infringement case filed in August 2012 by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis Group against Rameshwari Photocopy Shop in Delhi School of Economics and Delhi University. Justice R.S. Endlaw[Read More…]

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licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Transnational Republics of Commoning 2: New Forms Of Network-Based Governance

The text below is a second installment from my essay, “Transnational Republics of Commoning: Reinventing Governance through Emergent Networking,” published by Friends of the Earth UK. The third and final part of the essay will appear next. Read Part I Digital Commons  as a New Species of Production and Governance To return to our original question: How can we develop[Read More…]

Transnational Republics Of Commoning

Transnational Republics Of Commoning

I am often asked what the commons has to contribute to solving our climate change problems.  Since most commons are rather small scale and local, there is a presumption that such commons cannot possibly deal with a problem as massive and literally global as climate change. I think this view is mistaken. The nation-state as now constituted, in its close[Read More…]

10 Ways To Accelerate The Peer-To-Peer And Commons Economy

10 Ways To Accelerate The Peer-To-Peer And Commons Economy

Let’s engage in a way to produce goods and create value that is free, fair, and sustainable! What is peer production and commons economics? More importantly, how can they help bring about a thriving economy that work for people and planet? The following 10 ideas for action are the result of 10 years of research at the P2P Foundation on the[Read More…]

Photo by Neil Tackaberry

Nature Is Being Renamed ‘Natural Capital’ – But Is It Really The Planet That Will Profit?

The four-yearly World Conservation Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just taken place in Hawai’i. The congress is the largest global meeting on nature’s conservation. This year a controversial motion was debated regarding incorporating the language and mechanisms of “natural capital” into IUCN policy. But what is “natural capital”? And why use it to refer[Read More…]

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By Michael Würfel - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33591387

Degrowth And The Global Ecovillage Network

One of the most controversially discussed key tracks during the 5th International Degrowth Conference 2016 in Budapest was “Degrowth and other social movements”. Can degrowth be considered a movement? Does degrowth embrace all kinds of movements struggling for a sustainable future? On one hand, the notion of “degrowth movement(s)” was rigorously criticized for fragmenting the political struggle. It was also[Read More…]

A Space Shared Is A Space Doubled

A Space Shared Is A Space Doubled

 Streets and plazas are the spaces of the public, the spaces where people encounter each other. Such encounters can be fleeting or intense, but they always imply the possibility of lingering. Yet lingering is difficult if not impossible if our roads are designed to serve the needs of traffic practically to the exclusion of everything else. The concept of Shared[Read More…]

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Creating Sustainability? Join The Re-Generation!

In the face of multiple converging crises, mere sustainability is no longer enough. Too much damage has already been done. We need to restore ecosystem and community health, and create regenerative systems that allow us to face uncertainty creatively. After the post-war Baby Boomers came Generation X, followed by Generation Y – the millennials – and Generation Z – the[Read More…]

Living In “The Garden Of Life”

Living In “The Garden Of Life”

  Co-Written By Margrit Kennedy & Declan Kennedy Since 1985, an intentional community of about 100 adults and 40 children in the middle of Lower Saxony, Germany, has created the “Lebensgarten Steyerberg” out of a munitions factory housing project built in the late 1930s for World War II.1 The anchor of the community, which is spread out over 65 buildings, is a large community[Read More…]

School Of Commoning

School Of Commoning

“How would we know when we are commoning?” a young woman asked me at Contact Summit 2011, a major unconference running concurrently with the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, October 2011. (An “unconference” is a gathering based on participant-generated content.) When I announced the invitation to my session on commoning, I introduced it by quoting the motto of[Read More…]

Reclaiming The Credit Commons: Towards A Butterfly Society

Reclaiming The Credit Commons: Towards A Butterfly Society

By now, local currencies and alternative exchange systems have become familiar themes in the media, even in mainstream newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel, as well as on both local and network TV. These reports focus mainly on attempts to keep money circulating locally instead of “leaking out,” as a way of enhancing the vitality[Read More…]

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Photo by Eva Luedin

Global Enclosures In The Service Of Empire

In September 2010, a group of NATO brass, security analysts and other policy elites held a conference called “Protecting the Global Commons.” Attendees were described as “senior representatives from the EU institutions and NATO, with national government officials, industry, the international and specialised media, think-tanks, academia and NGOs” – surely one of the oddest group of “commoners” ever assembled. The[Read More…]

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Using “Protected Natural Areas” To Appropriate The Commons

Even as worldwide pressures mount to protect sites with high biological diversity, indigenous peoples and local communities are redoubling their struggles of resistance against a “solution” that claims to protect ecosystems, the establishment of protected natural areas (PNAs). The policy of establishing PNAs, which seeks to maintain the best conserved redoubts of the planet, is often at odds with the[Read More…]

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 A New German Raw Materials Strategy: A Modern “Enclosure Of The Commons”?

Lithium and cobalt for producing automobile batteries; titanium, chrome and palladium for desalination of sea water; ruthenium and selenium for photovoltaics, rare earths1 for cellphones and laptops – European industry relies on minerals, most of which must be imported, for developing and using numerous technologies of the future. Long-term security of supply of so-called “critical” raw materials was not considered an[Read More…]

The Oxaca Commune And The Zapitastas: Hope From The Margins

The Oxaca Commune And The Zapitastas: Hope From The Margins

These notes offer a quick glance to ways, in the south of Mexico, in which people are regenerating the society from the bottom up. It is a new kind of revolution without leaders or vanguards, which goes beyond development and globalization. It is about displacing the economy from the center of social life, reclaiming a communal way of being, encouraging[Read More…]

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Crises, Capital And Co-Optation: Does Capital Need A Commons Fix?

Today economic crisis is a capitalist crisis of social stability, not a simple recession—that is, a crisis that requires a realignment of class/power relations and new systems of governance in order to re-establish growth and accumulation.1 The last two times in which a real change in capital’s governance occurred (in the post-World War II period with the embrace of “Keynesianism” and[Read More…]

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Subtle But Effective: Modern Forms Of Enclosures

The history of the commons can be read as the expansion of the market sphere and of private decision-making over goods that hitherto were subject to common rules. From this point of view, the late 20th century technologies are double-edged: They have made it possible to expand the commons by offering new modes of regulation, favoring the non-market sphere and[Read More…]

Dam Building: Who’s “Backward”- Subsistence Cultures Or Modern “Development”?

Dam Building: Who’s “Backward”- Subsistence Cultures Or Modern “Development”?

Very often, the collective assertions of movements for economic, political or social justice represent just the surface of a complex agenda. If one clicks on their claims, like on a hypertext, one might unravel its layers and discover the less visible spheres of values, traditions and philosophies that animate them – in short, the identities of the people involved. It[Read More…]

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Water As A Commons: Only Fundamental Change Can Save Us

Half the tropical forests in the world – the lungs of our ecosystems – are gone; by 2030, at the current rate of harvest, only 10 percent will be left standing. Ninety percent of the big fish in the sea are gone, victim to wanton predatory fishing practices. Says a prominent scientist studying their demise, “There is no blue frontier[Read More…]

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Mining As A Threat To The Commons: The Case Of South America

The latest cycle of mining expansion in South America dates from the mid-1990s. Since then, levels of investment in exploration and exploitation have generally held steady. Such investment has benefited from reforms in the laws governing mining in almost all countries, and the high demand for basic minerals for industrial use, especially in China and India, which have translated into high prices.[Read More…]

Helsinki Timebank: Currency As A Commons

Helsinki Timebank: Currency As A Commons

It is fair to say that this essential principle of timebanking stands in stark contrast to the premises of the current money system and capitalist markets, which value everyone’s time and effort in highly unequal ways. Timebanking provides an alternative by helping people meet important personal and household needs in more socially satisfying, equal ways.

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Let’s Become A Part Of The Commons Once Again

Alas education in civilization justifies and encourages ruthless greed. It seems that all vertebrates go through a learning process and all mammals need or do better with an education from their parents and siblings. However, people are completely dependent on human interaction to be able to participate in any social setting. That is we must learn from other people to[Read More…]

The Coming Financial Enclosure Of The Commons

The Coming Financial Enclosure Of The Commons

Financial speculation in food commodities has become one of the main drivers of food price volatility, with devastating impacts on small producers and the poor. Yet the disruptive influence of financial speculation on food markets is only a preview of future crises. International financial markets are now attempting to dominate many conventional markets as a long-term strategy to extract greater[Read More…]

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Genetically Engineered Promises & Farming Realities

The biggest problem with genetic engineering in agriculture is that it runs completely against the grain of sustainable agriculture. It separates the domain of science from the domain of farming community. It externalizes everything that was internal to the communities and formed the basis of sustainability: seeds, manure, pest control and more than anything, community knowledge of agriculture. Biotechnology in[Read More…]

The Global Land Grab: The New Enclosures

The Global Land Grab: The New Enclosures

Consider this. It is 1607. The English have been taking lands in Ireland for several centuries. First written down in the 7th century, Irish customary law is sophisticated and still administered by trained traditional magistrates (Brehons). Now rulings in the English courts on Gavelkind (1605) and Tanistry (1607) finally deny that customary law delivers property rights. Family holdings are made[Read More…]

The Commons: A Historical Concept Of Property Rights

The Commons: A Historical Concept Of Property Rights

The commons, a historical concept, has become an object of interest for the modern social sciences and the general public like few before it. It is well known that it became famous due to Garrett Hardin and his influential article, “The Tragedy of the Commons” (Hardin 1968). Hardin had extrapolated from the historical phenomenon of the commons to identify principles[Read More…]

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The Commoning Of Patterns And The Patterns Of Commoning: A Short Sketch

   What would you have to think of if you want to build a liveable house? Maybe you would start looking at the environmental factors, an identifiable neighborhood, green areas nearby. You would look at the building site and choose to improve what’s there. You would create open space towards the south, and give it a distinct positive form. The[Read More…]

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Technology And The Commons

“Jens had to cultivate a strong, unified mind to counteract the disparate landscapes, societies, conditions. He jumped from a monthlong spring hunt to a helicopter that would take him to Nuuk to testify in front of Parliament. On behalf of the Hunters’ Council, he was working hard to ban the use of snowmobiles and prohibit fishing boats in Inglefield Sound,[Read More…]

The Potato Park Of Peru

The Potato Park Of Peru

Drive an hour northeast from Cusco, Peru, and you will encounter some beautiful high mountain lakes, historic Inca ruins, and the richest diversity of potatoes on the planet. Approximately 2,300 of the 4,000 known potato varieties in the world are grown here, making it one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. The 7,000 Quechua people who live on[Read More…]

Photo by Rod Waddington

Subsistence: Perspective For A Society Based On Commons

Subsistence is the sum total of everything that humans need to survive: food and drink, protection from cold and heat, caring and company. If subsistence needs are met, life can continue (Mies/Bennholdt-Thomsen 1999). Many aspects of subsistence – goods and activities – have been transformed into commodities, but by far not all of them. After all, not only children, but[Read More…]

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Why Distinguish Common Goods From Public Goods?

The devastating recession of 2008–09 and its volatile aftermath have focused everyone’s attention on the global economy. There is growing agreement that better policies, laws and institutions are needed, but will the next economy be fair and equal for all inhabitants of Earth? No one really knows. Yet one thing is certain: the political will to create a democratically restructured[Read More…]

The Tragedy Of The Anticommons

The Tragedy Of The Anticommons

This essay introduces the tragedy of the anticommons. What’s that? Let’s start with something familiar: a commons. When too many people share a single resource, we tend to overuse it – we may overfish the oceans and pollute the air. This wasteful overuse is a tragedy of the unmanaged commons. How do we solve such a tragedy? Often, by creating[Read More…]

The Open Source School Redefines Education in Italy

The Open Source School Redefines Education in Italy

Threading elements of the great educational experiments of Bauhaus and Roycroft Community models together with Pierre Levy’s modern definition of “collective intelligence,” La Scuola Open Source (The Open Source School) embodies the principles of the sharing movement. Its success hinges on cooperative work, co-design, shared skills, and an open source culture. The school’s 13 co-founders believe in the power of people’s[Read More…]

Photo by Kamil Porembiński

Common Goods Don’t Simply Exist – They Are Created

We can turn our attention to the question of what we want to do with our common resources. That is what really matters, for common goods exist only if we produce them – and they will remain only if we take care of them.

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Language Patterns, The Media, And Cultural Re-Storying

It’s fashionable these days to summon the concept of narrative for effecting change, whether it’s to evoke brand loyalty, to create demand for some product or, on a rather more substantive scale, to persuade humans to live more peaceably on the planet. I’d personally prefer to see its mysterious power deployed in pursuit of a lot more of the latter[Read More…]

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Rethinking The Social Welfare State In Light Of The Commons

When we talk about commons in Europe, the question usually arises whether public services are also to be considered commons. In order to answer this question, we must examine our understanding of the (social welfare) state on the one hand and the concept of the “public” on the other. FROM THE SOCIAL WELFARE STATE TO THE NEOLIBERAL COMPETITION STATE1 The[Read More…]

The Bristol Pound i

The ‘Rooted’ People

With the climate emergency now breaking upon the world, some may wonder whether human society is going to be capable of an effective response. It seems that our current toolkit is threefold. First there is the political dimension. The Green party is making substantial progress and other parties are lining up their own positions in regard to climate change. Second are the organisations, like the[Read More…]

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Feminism And The Politics Of The Commons

Reproduction precedes social production. Touch the women, touch the rock. 1 – Peter Linebaugh At least since the Zapatistas took over the zócalo in San Cristobal de las Casas on December 31, 1993, to protest legislation dissolving the ejidal lands of Mexico, the concept of “the commons” has been gaining popularity.2 There are important reasons why this apparently archaic idea has[Read More…]

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 First Thoughts For A Phenomenology Of The Commons

The commons are not concessions. They are resources that belong to the people as a matter of life necessity. Everybody has a right of an equal share of the commons and must be empowered by law to claim equal and direct access to it. Everybody has equal responsibility to the commons and shares a direct responsibility to transfer its wealth[Read More…]

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The Structural Communality Of The Commons

The commons are as varied as life itself, and yet everyone involved with them shares common convictions. If we wish to understand these convictions, we must realize what commons mean in a practical sense, what their function is and always has been. That in turn includes that we concern ourselves with people. After all, commons or common goods are precisely[Read More…]

Institutions And Trust In Commons: Dealing With Social Dilemmas

Institutions And Trust In Commons: Dealing With Social Dilemmas

From a game-theoretic point of view, commons represent both a chance and a problem. Game-theory is a mathematical tool that allows us to analyze decision-making in situations with social interdependencies such as sports, where a team has to decide either to play defensively or offensively in a match against another team, or economic situations, where companies have to decide whether[Read More…]

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Resilience Thinking

Resilience: the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change, so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, published by the UK government in 2010, was a bold and powerful statement of intent for a low-carbon economy in the UK (HMG 2009). It stated that by[Read More…]

Farm Hack: A Commons For Agricultural Innovation

Farm Hack: A Commons For Agricultural Innovation

In 2011, a community of farmers, designers, developers, engineers, architects, roboticists and open source thinkers came together in Boston, Massachusetts, to explore a simple yet radical idea – that great improvements in agriculture could be achieved by reducing barriers to knowledge exchange. They were convinced that transforming agricultural technology into a commons would result in a more adaptive, open and[Read More…]

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We Are Not Born As Egoists

A woman is writing a letter, and her pen drops to the floor. She leans across the desk and tries to pick it up, but she can’t reach it. A small boy realizes that he can help her. He walks over to the pen, picks it up and hands it to the woman. This is an experiment with twenty-month-old children.[Read More…]

CIC’s Autonomous Projects Of Collective Initiative #5: Calafou

CIC’s Autonomous Projects Of Collective Initiative #5: Calafou

One of the most interesting autonomous projects associated with the Catalan Integral Cooperative (CIC) is Calafou, the self-proclaimed “post-capitalist colony” which settled in 2011 in the ruins of an abandoned industrial village in the Catalan county of l’Anoia, about 65km away from Barcelona. The colony was set up with the participation of several CIC members with the aim of becoming[Read More…]

Photo Credit: international.fisheries.org

Efficiency And The Commons

Efficiency is the spiritual practice of the religion of scientific management. Under its spell, we have not only privatized once abundant shared natural resources, but we have also privatized our intellectual and cultural commons Chris Corrigan questions the mantra of market efficiency, offsetting it against commoning: This morning, I’m reading this article. It’s a review of two books charting the[Read More…]

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Image By  Charlotte 'Lottie' Dingle 
http://www.seeingwetiko.com/charlotte-lottie-dingle

Seeing Wetiko

One of the most important languages for expressing the values of the commons, I have come to realize, is art. It can often express visceral knowledge more effectively than words and give those insights a more powerful cultural reality. Those were my thoughts when I saw “Seeing Wetiko,” an “online gallery” of artworks, music and videos just released by the global arts[Read More…]

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Photo Credit: bio.miami.edu

The Economy Of Wastefulness: The Biology Of The Commons

There is an all-enclosing commons-economy which has been successful for billions of years: the biosphere. Its ecology is the terrestrial household of energy, matter, beings, relationships and meanings which contains any manmade economy and only allows for it to exist. Sunlight, oxygen, drinking water, climate, soil and energy – the products and processes of this household – also nourish the[Read More…]

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Photo by Nathan  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nathan_Hamblen

My Rocky Road To The Commons

“The Pyrenees, they are not all that high up – their outlines are gently curved, sharp ridges few and far between, and all the peaks are rounded. It seems like music frozen in place in this high country” (Kurt Tucholsky, celebrated German journalist and author, 1927). We are standing on the Col de Peyreget, where a small sign says we[Read More…]

John D. Liu On Regenerative Ecology And Naturalized Economies

John D. Liu On Regenerative Ecology And Naturalized Economies

 “If we say that money comes from ecological function instead from extraction, manufacturing buying and selling, then we have a system in which all human efforts go toward restoring, protecting and preserving ecological function. That is what we need to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to ensure food security, to ensure that human civilizations survive. Our monetary system must[Read More…]

State Power And Commoning: Transcending A Problematic Relationship

State Power And Commoning: Transcending A Problematic Relationship

What changes in state power must occur for commoning to flourish as a legal form of self-provisioning and governance? What does the success of the commons imply for the future of the state as a form of governance? My colleagues and I at the Commons Strategies Group puzzled over such questions last year and decided we needed to convene some[Read More…]

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Maharashtra government is back to its policy of privatizing open public spaces in Mumbai. Ordinary people are the losers because of this policy declared on July 27. . The upper class is not bothered because it has created its own spaces for recreation when it is not grabbing public space. I got a glimpse recently when I attended a[Read More…]

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The Commons As The Response To The Structural Crises Of The Global System

The Commons As The Response To The Structural Crises Of The Global System

The Connecting the Dots series has convincingly shown a number of interconnected reasons why the global system is in crisis, and why there is no way out without a structural transformation of the dominant neoliberal system. In our contribution, we want to stress the key importance of what we call a “value regime,” or simply put, the rules that determine[Read More…]

Feminist Socialism And The Commons

Feminist Socialism And The Commons

Hilary Wainwright, of the Transnational Institute and co-editor of Red Pepper magazine, made a lasting impression on the Commons Transition/P2P Foundation team with her panel presentation at the recent Commons Collaborative Economies event in Barcelona. During her presentation, Wainwright shared her insights on the hidden commons of care. “Women have been creating a Commons for a long time: the domestic[Read More…]

Beyond Development: The Commons As A New/Old Paradigm Of Human Flourishing

Beyond Development: The Commons As A New/Old Paradigm Of Human Flourishing

A proverb of the indigenous people of southwestern Colombia warns: “The word without action is empty, action without the word is blind, and action and the word outside the spirit of the community is death.” Of course, many of us are on the quest to figure out precisely the opposite — how to integrate word, action and community, and thereby create flourishing commons that can unleash cascades of creativity, aliveness and innovation. That is precisely what we need right now.