Commons

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I like commons.

In a nutshell: 'a commons' is a shared thing between a bunch of people that they actively maintain together.

The idea is that they are "beyond market and state".

Commons can be found in all kinds of walks of life - the environment (grazing lands, fisheries, community forests), culture, digital realm, knowledge commons.

There's a lot to unpack. My favourite book on commons and commoning is Free, Fair and Alive.

The logic of the commons is the logic of a common humanity that has realized that all humans should be equal participants and beneficiaries in society (see Dyer-Witheford 1999, 2007, 2009; Fuchs 2011b; Hardt and Negri 2009; Žižek 2010).

Social Media: A Critical Introduction

1. What is a commons?

Also what's the difference between 'the Commons' and 'a commons'?

The Commons is a means of provisioning and governance that generally doesn't need the permission of legislatures or courts to move forward.

David Bollier, Stir to Action Issue 30

The commons are cared for by the those that directly inhabit and gain from its wealth.

Seeding the Wild

Despite vivid differences among commons focused on natural resources, digital systems, and social mutuality, they all share structural and social similarities.

Free, Fair and Alive

So instead of conceiving of commons as closed systems of common property managed by a “club,” it is more productive to see them as social organisms who, thanks to their semi-permeable membranes, can interact with larger forces of life — communities, ecosystems, other commons.

Free, Fair and Alive

The commons is not simply about “sharing,” as it happens in countless areas of life. It is about sharing and bringing into being durable social systems for producing shareable things and activities.

Free, Fair and Alive

Commons are living social systems through which people address their shared problems in self-organized ways.

Free, Fair and Alive

The commons is a robust class of self-organized social practices for meeting needs in fair, inclusive ways.

Free, Fair and Alive

Each commons depends on social processes, the sharing of knowledge, and physical resources. Each shares challenges in bringing together the social, the political (governance), and the economic (provisioning) into an integrated whole.

Free, Fair and Alive

The elemental human impulse that we are born with — to help others, to improve existing practices — ripens into a stable social form with countless variations: a commons.

Free, Fair and Alive

1.1. How big is a commons?

In a commons, the resource can be small and serve a tiny group (the family refrigerator), it can be community-level (sidewalks, playgrounds, libraries, and so on), or it can extend to international and global levels (deep seas, the atmosphere, the Internet, and scientific knowledge).

Understanding Knowledge as a Commons

The commons can be well bounded (a community park or library); transboundary (the Danube River, migrating wildlife, the Internet); or without clear boundaries (knowledge, the ozone layer).

Understanding Knowledge as a Commons

2. Why?

the commons is not just about small-scale projects for improving everyday life. It is a germinal vision for reimagining our future together and reinventing social organization, economics, infrastructure, politics, and state power itself.

Free, Fair and Alive

The commons is a social form that enables people to enjoy freedom without repressing others, enact fairness without bureaucratic control, foster togetherness without compulsion, and assert sovereignty without nationalism.

Free, Fair and Alive

A commons … gives community life a clear focus. It depends on democracy in its truest form. It destroys inequality. It provides an incentive to protect the living world. It creates, in sum, a politics of belonging.”

Free, Fair and Alive

3. Politics of it

The world of commoning represents a profound challenge to capitalism because it is based on a very different ontology.

Free, Fair and Alive

4. Difficulties for commons

Potential problems in the use, governance, and sustainability of a commons can be caused by some characteristic human behaviors that lead to social dilemmas such as competition for use, free riding, and over- harvesting. Typical threats to knowledge commons are commodification or enclosure, pollution and degradation, and nonsustainability.

Understanding Knowledge as a Commons

5. Related

6. Elsewhere

6.2. In the Agora

6.3. Mentions

This page last updated: 2022-02-13 Sun 12:10. Map. Recent changes. Source. Peer Production License.