James Bernard Quilligan

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, including Pierre Trudeau, François Mitterand, Edward Heath, Julius Nyerere, Olof Palme, Willy Brandt, Jimmy Carter, and Tony Blair. He is currently on leave of absence as an international speechwriter for His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan of Jordan.

Quilligan was a policy advisor and press secretary for the Brandt Commission (1978-1984) and the co-founder and policy development director of the Coalition for the Global Commons (2007-2008). He is presently Managing Director of the Centre for Global Negotiations and Chairman for the Secretariat of Global Commons Trust, which develops innovative means of restoring value—beyond business and government—through people’s social, cultural, intellectual, genetic and natural resource commons. He is also collaborating with Prince El Hassan and many United Nations agencies on global commons issues.

Quilligan has been an economic consultant for government agencies in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Tanzania, Kuwait, India, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United States. In addition, he has served as an advisor for several United Nations programs and international development organizations.

Human Watershed: The Emerging Politics of Bioregional Democracy

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The Crisis Downstream: Waiting For A Rainy Day First, the bad news. Our global community no longer has the luxury […]


Toward a Common Theory of Value | Part Five: Common Development

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The previous articles in this series considered how objective and subjective principles have been applied in economic thinking. We noted that the left hemisphere of the human brain is categorical and sequential in its objective construction of reality, building the edifice of knowledge up from fragments, piece by piece, to the larger system. By contrast, the right brain experiences the world as timeless Being, a great flowing network of subjective interconnection and unity, processing reality from the Whole to the Part.


Interview | Sharing the Commons: Humanity’s Collective Heritage

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Jason Francis for Share International (SI): You’ve spent most of your career in international development, but in recent years you’ve […]


Toward a Common Theory of Value | Part Four: Common Need

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This series of articles looks at the meaning of value in economics. We are pondering the idea of a thing, a common object. Our guidepost is Aristotle’s division of basic kinds of things into C (commodities as a means to household satisfaction) and M (things as a means to making money). In terms of the human actions involving things, we have identified C-M-C’ (interconnection, cooperation, use value) with the right hemisphere and subjective side of the brain, and M-C-M’ (separation, competition, exchange value) with the left hemisphere and human objectivity.


Toward A Common Theory of Value | Part Three: Common Knowing

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The articles in this series examine the meaning of value in economics. Parts One and Two considered Aristotle’s distinction between C-M-C’ (the possession of household Commodities, which aims at getting useful things to sustain life) and M-C-M’ (the ownership of wealth, which aims at getting Money by converting commodities into profit). These studies found that C-M-C’ and M-C-M’ do not express a material unity of self and whole. For one thing, the commodity form is not a natural or stable unit since there are many areas where commodities do not exist, such as gift economies (like Wikipedia) or the exchange of aboriginal modes of property (like sharing with friends). For another, the money form—which requires an individual’s integration into the marketplace through the general equivalence of currency value—is by no means an absolute form of shared experience or Being.


Commons for Peace (Serbian Translation)

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Mada izraz ‘bezbednost čovečanstva’ može imati različita tumačenja, dva
značenja preovladjuju. Neposredno po završetku Hladnog rata, autori nekoliko
značajnih studija – uključujući Izveštaj Generalnog sekretara Ujedinjenih nacija
za 1992.godinu pod nazivom «Dnevni red za mir» (Agenda for Peace); Izveštaj o
procesima razvoja u svetu koji je 1994. godine izdao Program Ujedinjenih nacija
za razvoj (World Development Report, 1994, UNDP), i Izveštaj «Bezbednost u
svetu sada» iz 2003.godine, koji je objavila Komisija Ujedinjenih nacija za
bezbednost (Human Security Now, 2003, UN Commission on Human Security)
– su se založili za uspostavljanje stabilnog mira kao alternativu konceptu
bezbednosti zasnovanom na vojnoj moći.


Toward A Common Theory of Value | Part Two: Common Trust

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This series of articles examines the meaning of value in economics. Through the lens of the commons, we hope to stimulate a rethinking of the goals, methods and conceptual structures of economic theory and its modes of action.


Commons for Peace

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Although the term ‘human security’ has various meanings, two have predominated. Following the Cold War, several major studies—including the UN Secretary-General’s 1992 report, Agenda for Peace; the 1994 World Development Report of the UN Development Program; and the 2003 report, Human Security Now, by the UN Commission on Human Security—proposed peaceful alternatives to military security.


Toward a Common Theory of Value | Part One: Common Being

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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.


The Failed Metaphysics Behind Private Property: Sharing our Commonhood

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Garrett Hardin is often cited for his 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” In this classic critique of common property management, Hardin gives the example of herders grazing their cattle on a shared parcel of land. He observes that these individual herdsmen, acting out of self-interest, will put more and more cattle in the pasture.


Global Commons Goods | Civil Society as Global Commons Organizations

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Effective management of global resources is not possible under our present multilateral system. Because national jurisdictions and institutions rarely line up with the actual geographical regions that contain ecosystems and social and cultural groups, many of the world’s transboundary resource areas lack responsible public oversight.


Interest Rates and Climate Change: Realigning our Incentives through the Power of the Commons

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During the past several decades, humanity has emerged as a perilous force of nature. Through its technological, economic and political choices and activities, modern civilization has produced destructive economies of scale, powered by exponential growth and fossil fuels. Our consumption of vital resources is already exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet.


People Sharing Resources | Toward a New Multilateralism of the Global Commons

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The opening decades of this century are a pivotal time in which many of our current beliefs and practices will be reexamined. During the last century, the economic and political catastrophes that befell the world inspired an earlier generation to create a multilateral system defined by an unprecedented vision of cooperation and security for the international community.


The Commons and Integral Capital

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The global economic crash is very big news. But what the media headlines and reports do not mention is how deeply this crisis is rooted in our history. During the past several centuries, businesses and government have become enmeshed in a single system. State capitalism now exists in virtually every sovereign nation.


The Commons of Mind, Life and Matter: Toward a Non-Polar Framework for Global Negotiations

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The term commons was first used during the enclosure period in Britain when people were removed from their communal lands. Since then, commons have come to represent areas of co-governance and co-production that lie outside of the market and state sectors (or Market State), including food, water, clean air, energy, information, internet, culture, indigenous peoples’ rights and other concerns.


Making the Great Adjustment | Coalition for the Global Commons

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Our current international economic system is a great advance over the bipolar politics and economic nationalism that existed prior to the Second World War. Rapid global economic integration has led to more connections among markets, people and ideas than ever before. Yet our multilateral rules and institutions have not adjusted.