The Commons

Explore our archive of articles on The Commons.

Book Review: The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market & State

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If I were to be marooned on a desert island and could take along only two commons-related books, they would be Elinor Ostrom’s 1990 classic, Governing the Commons, and David Bollier and Silke Helfrich’s The Wealth of the Commons. This remarkable anthology of seventy-two essays by authors from six continents represents a milestone in the commons literature.

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.

Reclaiming Our Great Lakes Commons: A New Approach for Protecting Our Water

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There are 70 of us assembled here at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana for the opening of the first ever Great Lakes Commons Gathering. In the opening circle we introduce ourselves and pour water brought from our homes around the Lakes into a large clear bowl. This confluence of the waters reflects the real and symbolic center of our meeting.

The Commons as a New Sector of Value-Creation

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Let me start with a bit of wisdom I once picked up from Thomas Berry, a historian of cultures who has said, “The universe is the communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” This epigraph encapsulates the monumental shift that I believe we are undergoing as we move into a new kind of cultural if not economic reality.

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.

Greenkeeping Governance: Toward a Law of the Ecological Commons

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At least since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, we have known about humankind’s squandering of nonrenewable resources, its careless disregard of precious life species, and its overall contamination and degradation of delicate ecosystems. In recent decades, these defilements have assumed a systemic dimension. Lately we have come to realize the shocking extent to which our atmospheric emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatens Planet Earth.

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.

Knowledge Commons for the Global Commons

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Dr. Terri Homan: “Six months ago I had never heard of the commons. Perhaps the starting point for a world movement is spreading awareness, so there are more banner-carriers to work toward the change in consciousness that is required. Unless a critical mass of world citizens demand change, it is too easy for the rest to look away." Terri is a physician in the Chicago area, one of 49 people from four continents who enrolled in Common Course: An Introduction to the Global Commons. The four-week program consisted of readings, on-line discussions and weekly conference calls. On one occasion economist James Quilligan joined as a guest speaker.

The Rise of the Commons

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We, the people of the world, own most of this planet in common. Our future depends on learning to use and develop this commons for the good of the total, and not just for the few. Here in the Far North we built a new state based on that concept. It’s the only place like it. The Alaskan people, through our state government, won ownership of much of our land and our natural resources. Using neither classic capitalism nor socialism, we have developed a new way to prosperity, based on common ownership and rooted in constitutional democracy.

Maine Activists Protect the Commons

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Communities in Maine have been engaging in a struggle to protect their groundwater resources from the multinational corporation Nestlé Waters N.A., the largest food and beverage company in the world. Nestlé, which is in the business of mining water to fill plastic bottles for their labels such as Poland Springs, seeks to expand its business by increasing the number of wellheads throughout the state. It is pumping millions more gallons of spring water from aquifers each day.