Riddle of the Commons: Does Property Have Properties?
Thus begins an inquiry on the meaning of value in economic philosophy. This series of articles will attempt to reconceptualize the social and natural order of economics through an analysis of the commons—the natural, genetic, physical, social, cultural and intellectual resources which people manage by negotiating their own norms and rules. (For brevity’s sake, Part One uses the term ‘commons’ loosely to refer to both self-organized commons and unorganized common pool resources—a distinction which will be spelled out in subsequent articles.) The recurring theme in these writings is the creation of a commons-based economy which expresses a more inclusive type of value than in traditional economics. A common theory of value—rooted in philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, communication, organizational behavior, technology, history, culture, environmentalism, economics, law, and social and political theory—will explore many of the leading ontological presuppositions in our present belief systems.
This article can be found in the Fall | Winter 2011 issue of Kosmos Journal or can be downloaded as a PDF here.
James Bernard Quilligan has been an analyst and administrator in the field of international development since 1975. He has served as policy advisor and writer for many international politicians and leaders,