Think Like a Commoner

by: EJ on 02/05/2014
Posted in: New Books

The Commons is among the most important and hopeful concepts of our time, and once you've read this book you'll understand why!
  ---Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy

Think Like a Commoner?  What is a Commoner?  David Bollier's newest book, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons will help you answer that question.

A commons is something that is owned by no one and used by everyone.  My favorite commons is the ocean but commons range from knowledge and culture through to the internet.  David Bollier explains, "The commons is a social system for the long-term stewardship of resources which is not reliant on the market or state. The commons is not a resource. It is a resource plus a defined community and the protocols, values and norms devised by the community to manage needed resources."  He also points out that my favorite commons, along with the atmosphere, genetic knowledge and biodiveristy urgently need to be managed as a commons.

One of the great scandals of our time is the theft of our shared wealth by the broken market-state. Fortunately, the emerging paradigm of the commons is pioneering bold, practical responses. Think Like a Commoner explains how the commons is an exploding field of DIY innovation that challenges standard economics.  It provides a framework of law and social action that provides solutions to modern issues.

Roving folksinger David Rovics sums up the connection between the historical commons and the modern day in his song, "The Commons". 

"This world is our home, not your property...

You would sacrifice the public good for your private gain ...



It probably surprises you to know that the wealth we own together as a commons is far more valuable than the wealth that we and corporations own separately.  Corporations know this and have commercialized or taken control of what we the people own – such as the public airwaves, the public lands, our genes and trillions of dollars of knowledge (eg. research and development) paid for by taxpayers – for starters.  For this and more you must read Bollier’s brilliant distillation of the huge variety of commons and how we can take control of what we own in order to transform our economy for us, our posterity  and the planet.   Once you pick it up, you’ll tremble with the excitement of what we all own in the form of the commons that somehow escaped our notice in our years of formal education.

---Ralph Nader, Consumer advocate and author, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State


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