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Free, Fair and Alive will be published in September 3rd 2019 by New Society Publishers.
We will also progressively serialise content from the book in this website over the course of 2019-20.

Introduction

This book is dedicated to overcoming an epidemic of fear with a surge of reality-based hope. As long as we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by our fears, we will never find the solutions we need to help us build a new world. Of course, we have plenty of good reasons to be fearful — the loss of our jobs, authoritarian rule, corporate abuses, racial and ethnic hatred. Looming above all else is the warming of the Earth’s climate, an existential threat to civilization itself. We watch with amazement as space probes detect water on Mars while authori- ties struggle to find drinking water for people on Earth. Technologies may soon let people edit the genes of their unborn children like text on a computer, yet the means for taking care for the sick, old, and homeless remain elusive.

Fear and despair are fueled by our sense of powerlessness, the sense that we as individuals cannot possibly alter the current trajectories of history. But our powerlessness has a lot to do with how we con- ceive of our plight — as individuals, alone and separate. Fear, and our understandable search for individual safety, are crippling our search for collective, systemic solutions — the only solutions that will truly work. We need to reframe our dilemma as What can we do together? How can we do this outside of conventional institutions that are failing us?

The good news is that countless seeds of collective transformation are already sprouting. Green shoots of hope can be seen in the agroecology farms of Cuba and community forests of India, in community Wi-Fi sys- tems in Catalonia and neighborhood nursing teams in the Netherlands. They are emerging in dozens of alternative local currencies, new types of web platforms for cooperation, and campaigns to reclaim cities for ordinary people. The beauty of such initiatives is that they meet needs in direct, empowering ways. People are stepping up to invent new systems that function outside of the capitalist mindset, for mutual benefit, with respect for the Earth, and with a commitment to the long term.

In 2009, a frustrated group of friends in Helsinki were watching another international climate change summit fail. They wondered what they could do themselves to change the economy. The result, after much planning, was a neighborhood “credit exchange” in which participants agree to exchange services with each other, from lan- guage translations and swimming lessons to gardening and editing. Give an hour of your expertise to a neighbor; get an hour of someone else’s talents. The Helsinki Timebank, as it was later called, has grown into a robust parallel economy of more than 3,000 members. With exchanges of tens of thousands of hours of services, it has become a socially convivial alternative to the market economy, and part of a large international network of timebanks.

In Bologna, Italy, an elderly woman wanted a simple bench in the neighborhood’s favorite gathering spot. When residents asked the city government if they could install a bench themselves, a perplexed city bureaucracy replied that there were no procedures for doing so. This triggered a long journey to create a formal system for coordinating cit- izen collaborations with the Bologna government. The city eventually created the Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons to organize hundreds of citizen/government “pacts of collaboration” — to rehabilitate abandoned buildings, manage kin- dergartens, take care of urban green spaces. The effort has since spurred a Co-City movement in Italy that orchestrates similar collaborations in dozens of cities.

But in the face of climate change and economic inequality, aren’t these efforts painfully small and local? This belief is the mistake tradi- tionalists make. They are so focused on the institutions of power that have failed us, and so fixated on the global canvas, that they fail to recognize that real forces for transformational change originate in small places, with small groups of people, beneath the gaze of power. Skeptics of “the small” would scoff at farmers sowing grains of rice, corn, and beans: “You’re going to feed humanity with … seeds?!” Small gambits with adaptive capacities are in fact powerful vehicles for system change. Right now, a huge universe of bottom-up social initiatives — familiar and novel, in all realms of life, in industrialized and rural settings — are successfully addressing needs that the market economy and state power are unable to meet. Most of these initiatives remain unseen or unidentified with a larger pattern. In the public mind they are patronized, ignored, or seen as aberrational and marginal. After all, they exist outside the prevailing systems of power — the state, cap- ital, markets. Conventional minds always rely on proven things and have no courage for experiments even though the supposedly winning formulas of economic growth, market fundamentalism, and national bureaucracies have become blatantly dysfunctional. The question is not whether an idea or initiative is big or small, but whether its prem- ises contain the germ of change for the whole.

To prevent any misunderstanding: 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. The commons is a social form that enables people to enjoy freedom without repressing others, enact fairness without bureaucratic control, foster together- ness without compulsion, and assert sovereignty without nationalism. Columnist George Monbiot has summed up the virtues of the com- mons nicely: “A commons … gives community life a clear focus. It depends on democracy in its truest form. It destroys inequality. It pro- vides an incentive to protect the living world. It creates, in sum, a politics of belonging.”1

This is reflected in our title, which describes the foundation, structure, and vision of the commons: Free, Fair and Alive. Any eman- cipation from the existing system must honor freedom in the widest human sense, not just libertarian economic freedom of the isolated individual. It must put fairness, mutually agreed upon, at the center of any system of provisioning and governance. And it must recognize our existence as living beings on an Earth that is itself alive. Transformation cannot occur without actualizing all of these goals simultaneously. This is the agenda of the commons — to combine the grand priorities of our political culture that are regularly played off against each other — freedom, fairness, and life itself.

Far more than a messaging strategy, the commons is an insurgent worldview. That is precisely why it represents a new form of power. When people come together to pursue shared ends and constitute themselves as a commons, a new surge of coherent social power is cre- ated. When enough of these pockets of bottom-up energy converge, a new political power manifests. And because commoners are com- mitted to a broad set of philosophically integrated values, their power is less vulnerable to co-optation. The market/state has developed a rich repertoire of divide-and-conquer strategies for neutralizing social movements seeking change. It partially satisfies one set of demands, for example, but only by imposing new costs on someone else. Yes to greater racial and gender equality in law, but only within the grossly inequitable system of capitalism and weak enforcement. Or, yes to greater environmental protection, but only by charging higher prices or by ransacking the Global South for its natural resources. Or, yes to greater healthcare and family-friendly work policies, but only under rigid schemes that preserve corporate profits. Freedom is played against fairness, or vice-versa, and each in turn is played off against the needs of Mother Earth. And so the citadel of capitalism again and again thwarts demands for system change.

The great ambition of the commons is to break this endless story of co-optation and beggar-thy-neighbor manipulation. Its aim is to develop an independent, parallel social economy, outside of the market/ state system, that enacts a different logic and ethos. The Commonsverse does not pursue freedom, fairness, and eco-friendly provisioning as separate goals requiring tradeoffs among them. The commons seeks to integrate and unify these goals as coeval priorities. They constitute an indivisible agenda. Moreover, this agenda is not merely aspirational; it lies at the heart of commoning as an insurgent social practice.

Not surprisingly, the vision of the commons we set forth here is quite different from that image presented (and derided) by modern economics and the political right. For them, commons are unowned resources that are free for the taking and therefore a failed management regime — an idea popularized by Garrett Hardin’s famous essay on the “Tragedy of the Commons.” (More about this later.) We disagree. The commons is a robust class of self-organized social practices for meeting needs in fair, inclusive ways. It is a life-form. It is a framing that describes a different way of being in the world and different ways of knowing and acting.

The market/state system often talks about how it performs things for the people — or if participation is allowed, working with the people. But the commons achieves important things through the people. That is to say, ordinary people themselves provide the energy, imagination, and hard work. They do their own provisioning and governance. Commoners are the ones who dream up the systems, devise the rules, provide the expertise, perform the difficult work, monitor for compli- ance, and deal with rule-breakers.

As this implies, the commons involves an identity shift. It requires that people evolve into different roles and perspectives. It demands new ways of relating to other people. It requires that we reassess who matters in our economy and society, and how essential work gets done. Seen from the inside, the commons reveals that we can create value in new ways, and create meaning for ourselves in the process. We can escape from capitalist value chains by creating value networks of mutual commitment. It is by changing the micropatterns of social life, on the ground, with each other, that we can begin to decolonize our- selves from the history and culture into which we were born. We can escape the sense of powerless isolation that defines so much of modern life. We can develop healthier, fair alternatives.

Not surprisingly, the guardians of the prevailing order — in government, business, the media, higher education, philanthropy — prefer to work within existing institutional frameworks. They are con- tent to operate within parochial patterns of thought and puny ideas about human dignity, especially the narrative of progress through eco- nomic growth. They prefer that political power be consolidated into centralized structures, such as the nation-state, the corporation, the bureaucracy. This book aims to shatter such presumptions and open up some new vistas of realistic choices.

However, this book is not yet another critique of neoliberal capital- ism. While often valuable, even penetrating critiques do not necessarily help us imagine how to remake our institutions and build a new world. What we really need today is creative experimentation and the courage to initiate new patterns of action. We need to learn how to identify patterns of cultural life that can bring about change, notwithstanding the immense power of capital.

For those activists oriented toward political parties and elections, legislation, and policymaking, we counsel a shift to a deeper, more sig- nificant level of political life — the world of culture and social practice. Conventional modes of politics working with conventional institutions simply cannot deliver the kinds of change we need. Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has shrewdly observed, “We can’t save the world by playing by the rules.” We need to devise a new set of rules. The old system cannot be ignored, to be sure, and in fact it can often deliver necessary benefits. But we must be honest with our- selves: existing systems will not yield transformational change. That’s why we must be open to bracing winds of change from the periphery, from the unexpected, neglected places, from the zones without pedi- gree or credentials, from the people themselves.

Accordingly, we refuse to assume that the nation-state is the only realistic system of power for dealing with our fears and offering solu- tions. It isn’t. The nation-state is, rather, an expression of a fading era. It’s just that respectable circles decline to consider alternatives from the fringe lest they be seen as fuzzy-minded or crazy. But these days, the structural deficiencies of the nation-state and its alliance with cap- ital-driven markets are on vivid display, and can hardly be denied. We have no choice but to abandon our fears — and start to entertain fresh ideas from the margins.

A note of reassurance: “going beyond” the nation-state doesn’t mean “without the nation-state.” It means that we must seriously alter state power by introducing new operational logics and institutional players. Much of this book is devoted to precisely that necessity. We immodestly see commoning as a way to incubate new social practices and cultural logics that are firmly grounded in everyday experience and yet capable of federating themselves to gain strength, cross-fertilizing to grow a new culture, and reaching into the inner councils of state power. When we describe commons and commoning, we are talking about practices that go beyond the usual ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving. One could, therefore, regard this book as a learning guide. We hope to enlarge your understanding of the economy as something that goes beyond the money economy that sets my interest against our interests, and sees the state as the only alternative to the market, for example. This is no small ambition because the market/state has insin- uated its premises deep within our consciousness and culture. If we are serious about escaping the stifling logic of capitalism, however, we must probe this deeply. How else can we escape the strange logic by which we first exhaust ourselves and deplete the environment in producing things, and then have to work heroically to repair both, simply so the hamster wheel of the eternal today will continue to turn? How can politicians and citizens possibly take independent initiatives if every- thing depends on jobs, the stock market, and competition? How can we strike off in new directions when the basic patterns of capitalism constantly inhabit our lives and consciousness, eroding what we have in common? Our aim in writing this book is not just to illuminate new patterns of thought and feeling, but to offer a guide to action.

But how do you begin to approach such a profound change? Our answer is that we must first unravel our understanding of the world: our image of what it means to be a human being, our conception of own- ership, prevailing ideas about being and knowing (Chapter 2). When we learn to see the world through a new lens and describe it with new words, a compelling vision comes into focus. We can acquire a new understanding of the good life, our togetherness, the economy, and politics. A semantic revolution of new vocabularies (and the abandon- ment of old ones) is indispensable for communicating this new vision. That is why, in Chapter 3, we introduce a variety of terms to escape the trap of many misleading binaries (individual/collective, public/private, civilized/premodern) and name the experiences of commoning that currently have no name (Ubuntu rationality, freedom-in-connected- ness, value sovereignty, peer governance).

Insights are one thing, meaningful action is another. How then shall we proceed? We regard the “how to do it” section — Part II, con- sisting of Chapters 4, 5, and 6 — as the heart of the book. The Triad of Commoning, as we call it, systematically describes how the world of the commons “breathes” — how it lives, what its culture feels like. The Triad offers a new framework for understanding and analyzing the commons. The framework itself emerged through a methodology associated with “pattern languages,” in which a process of “patterns mining” is used to identify recurrent patterns of social practice that exist across cultures and history.

This is followed by Part III, which examines the embedded assump- tions of property (Chapter 7) and how a new sort of relationalized property can be developed (Chapter 8) to support commoning. We quickly realized that such visions — or other patterns of commoning — tend to run up against state power if they become successful. States are not shy about using law, property rights, state policies, alliances with capital, and coercive practices to advance their vision of the world — which generally frowns upon the realities of commoning. In light of these realities, we outline several general strategies for building the Commonsverse nonetheless (Chapter 9). And we conclude with a look at several specific approaches — commons charters, distributed ledger technologies, commons-public partnerships — that can expand the com- mons while protecting it against the market/state system (Chapter 10). As a book that seeks to reconceptualize our understanding of com- mons, we realize that we point to many new avenues of further inquiry that we simply cannot answer here. The greater the shoreline of our knowledge, the greater the oceans of our ignorance. We would have liked to explore a new theory of value to counter the unsatisfactory notions of value, the price system, used by standard economics. The long history of property law contains many fascinating legal doctrines that deserve to be excavated, along with non-Western notions of stew- ardship and control. The psychological and sociological dimensions of cooperation could illuminate our ideas about commoning with new depth. Scholars of modernity, historians of medieval commons, and anthropologists could help us better understand the social dynamics of the contemporary commons. In short, there is much more to be said about the themes we discuss.

Some of the most salient, understudied big issues involve how commons might mitigate familiar geopolitical, ecological, and human- itarian challenges. Migration, military conflict, climate change, and inequality are all affected by the prevalence of enclosures and the rel- ative strength of commoning. Commoners with stable, locally rooted means of subsistence naturally feel less pressure to flee to wealthier regions of the world. When industrial trawlers destroyed Somali fishery commons, they surely had a role in fueling piracy and terrorism in Africa. Could state protection of commons make a difference? If such provisioning could supplant global market supply chains, it could significantly reduce carbon emissions from transportation and agricul- tural chemicals. These and many other topics deserve much greater research, analysis, and theorizing.

We wish to call attention to four appendices of interest. Appendix A explains the methodology used to identify the patterns of commoning in Part II of the book. Appendix B describes the conceptualization process used by Mercè Moreno Tárres to draw the twenty-eight beau- tiful patterns images in Part II. Appendix C lists sixty-nine working commons and tools for commoning mentioned in this book. And Appendix D lists Elinor Ostrom’s eight renowned design principles for effective commons.

Part I: The Commons as a Transformative Perspective

1. Commons and Commoning

Can human beings really learn to cooperate with each other in routine, large-scale ways? A great deal of evidence suggests we can. There is no innate, genetic impediment to cooperation. It’s quite the opposite. In one memorable experiment conducted by developmental and comparative psychologist Michael Tomasello, a bright-eyed tod- dler watches a man carrying an armful of books as he repeatedly bumps into a closet door. The adult can’t seem to open the closet, and the toddler is concerned. The child spontaneously walks over to the door and opens it, inviting the inept adult to put the books into the closet. In another experiment, an adult repeatedly fails to place a blue tablet on top of an existing stack of tablets. A toddler seated across from the clumsy man grabs the fallen tablets and carefully places each one neatly on the top of the stack. In yet another test, an adult who had been stapling papers in a room leaves, and upon returning with a new set of papers, finds that someone has moved his stapler. A one-year-old infant in the room immediately understands the adult’s problem, and points helpfully at the missing stapler, now on a shelf.

For Tomasello, a core insight came into focus from these and other experiments: human beings instinctively want to help others. In his painstaking attempts to understand the origins of human cooperation, Tomasello and his team have sought to isolate the workings of this human impulse and to differentiate it from the behaviors of other spe- cies, especially primates. From years of research, he has concluded that “from around their first birthdays — when they first begin to walk and talk and become truly cultural beings — human children are already cooperative and helpful in many, though obviously not all, situations. And they do not learn this from adults; it comes naturally.”1 Even infants from fourteen to eighteen months of age show the capacity to fetch out-of-reach objects, remove obstacles facing others, correct an adult’s mistake, and choose the correct behaviors for a given task.

Of course, complications arise and multiply as young children grow up. They learn that some people are not trustworthy and that others don’t reciprocate acts of kindness. Children learn to internalize social norms and ethical expectations, especially from societal institutions. As they mature, children associate schooling with economic success, learn to package personal reputation into a marketable brand, and find satisfaction in buying and selling.

While the drama of acculturation plays out in many different ways, the larger story of the human species is its versatile capacity for coop- eration. We have the unique potential to express and act upon shared intentionality. “What makes us [human beings] really different is our ability to put our heads together and to do things that none of us could do alone, to create new resources that we couldn’t create alone,” says Tomasello. “It’s really all about communicating and collaborating and working together.” We are able to do this because we can grasp that other human beings have inner lives with emotions and intentions. We become aware of a shared condition that goes beyond a narrow, self-referential identity. Any individual identity is always, also, part of collective iden- tities that guide how a person thinks, behaves, and solves problems. All of us have been indelibly shaped by our relations with peers and society, and by the language, rituals, and traditions that constitute our cultures. In other words, the conceit that we are “self-made” individuals is a delusion. There is no such thing as an isolated “I.” As we will explore later, each of us is really a Nested-I. We are not only embedded in relationships; our very identities are created through relationships. The Nested-I concept helps us deal more honestly with the encompassing reality of human identity and development. We humans truly are the “cooperative species,” as economists Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis have put it.2 The question is whether or not this deep human instinct will be encouraged to unfold. And if cooperation is encouraged, will it aim to serve all or instead be channeled to serve individualistic, parochial ends?

 

Commoning Is Everywhere, but Widely Misunderstood

In our previous books The Wealth of the Commons (2012) and Patterns of Commoning (2015), we documented dozens of notable commons, suggesting that the actual scope and impact of commoning in today’s world is quite large. Our capacity to self-organize to address needs, independent of the state or market, can be seen in community forests, cooperatively run farms and fisheries, open source design and manufac- turing communities with global reach, local and regional currencies, and myriad other examples in all realms of life. 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. The impulse to common plays out in the most varied circumstances — impoverished urban neighborhoods, landscapes hit by natural disas- ters, subsistence farms in the heart of Africa, social networks that come together in cyberspace. And yet, strangely, the commons paradigm is rarely seen as a pervasive social form, perhaps because it so often lives in the shadows of state and market power. It is not recognized as a pow- erful social force and institutional form in its own right. For us, to talk about the commons is to talk about freedom-in-connectedness — a social space in which we can rediscover and remake ourselves as whole human beings and enjoy some serious measure of self-determination. The discourse around commons and commoning helps us see that indi- viduals working together can bring forth more humane, ethical, and ecologically responsible societies. It is plausible to imagine a stable, sup- portive post-capitalist order. The very act of commoning, as it expands and registers on the larger culture, catalyzes new political and economic possibilities.

Let us be clear: the commons is not a utopian fantasy. It is some- thing that is happening right now. It can be seen in countless villages and cities, in the Global South and the industrial North, in open source software communities and global cyber-networks. Our first challenge is to name the many acts of commoning in our midst and make them culturally legible. They must be perceived and understood if they are going to be nourished, protected, and expanded. That is the burden of the following chapters and the reason why we propose a new, general framework for understanding commons and commoning.

The commons is not simply about “sharing,” as it happens in count- less areas of life. It is about sharing and bringing into being durable social systems for producing shareable things and activities. Nor is the commons about the misleading idea of the “tragedy of the commons.”

This term was popularized by a famous essay by biologist Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which appeared in the influ- ential journal Science in 1968.3 Paul Ehrlich had just published The Population Bomb, a Malthusian account of a world overwhelmed by sheer numbers of people. In this context, Hardin told a fictional par- able of a shared pasture on which no herdsman has a rational incentive to limit the grazing of his cattle. The inevitable result, said Hardin, is that each herdsman will selfishly use as much of the common resource as possible, which will inevitably result in its overuse and ruin — the so-called tragedy of the commons. Possible solutions, Hardin argued, are to grant private property rights to the resource in question, or have the government administer it as public property or on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hardin’s article went on to become the most-cited article in the history of the journal Science, and the phrase “tragedy of the commons” became a cultural buzzword. His fanciful story, endlessly repeated by economists, social scientists, and politicians, has persuaded most people that the commons is a failed management regime. And yet Hardin’s anal- ysis has some remarkable flaws. Most importantly, he was not describing a commons! He was describing a free-for-all in which nothing is owned and everything is free for the taking — an “unmanaged common pool resource,” as some would say. As commons scholar Lewis Hyde has puckishly suggested, Hardin’s “tragedy” thesis ought to be renamed “The Tragedy of Unmanaged, Laissez-Faire, Commons-Pool Resources with Easy Access for Non-Communicating, Self-Interested Individuals.”

In an actual commons, things are different. A distinct community governs a shared resource and its usage. Users negotiate their own rules, assign responsibilities and entitlements, and set up monitoring systems to identify and penalize free riders. To be sure, finite resources can be overexploited, but that outcome is more associated with free markets than with commons. It is no coincidence that our current period of history, in which capitalist markets and private property rights prevail in most places, has produced the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s his- tory, an unprecedented loss of fertile soil, disruptions in the hydrologic cycle, and a dangerously warming atmosphere.

As we will see in this book, the commons has so many rich facets that it cannot be easily contained within a single definition. But it helps to clarify how certain terms often associated with the commons are not, in fact, the same as a commons.

What Is and Is Not a Commons:
Some Clarifications

Commons are living social systems through which people to address their shared problems in self-organized ways. Unfortunately, some people incorrectly use the term to describe unowned things such as oceans, space, and the moon, or collectively owned resources such as water, forests, and land. As a result, the term commons is frequently conflated with economic concepts that express a very different worl- dview. Terms such as common goods, common-pool resources, and common property misrepresent the commons because they empha- size objects and individuals, not relationships and systems. Here are some of the misleading terms associated with commons.

Common goods: A term used in neoclassical economy to distin- guish among certain types of goods — common goods, club goods, public goods, and private goods. Common goods are said to be diffi- cult to fence off (in economic jargon, they are “nonexcludable”) and susceptible to being used up (“rivalrous”). In other words, common goods tend to get depleted when we share them. Conventional eco- nomics presumes that the excludability and depletability of a common good are inherent in the good itself, but this is mistaken. It is not the good that is excludable or not, it’s people who are being excluded     or not. A social choice is being made. Similarly, the depletability of a common good has little to do with the good   itself, and everything   to do with how we choose to make use of water, land, space, or for- ests. By calling the land, water, or forest a “good,” economists are in fact making a social judgment: they are presuming that something is   a resource suitable for market valuation and trade — a presumption that a different culture may wish to reject.

Common-pool resources or CPRs: This term is used by com- mons scholars, mostly in the tradition of Elinor Ostrom, to analyze how shared resources such as fishing grounds, groundwater basins or grazing areas can be managed. Common-pool resources are regarded as common goods, and in fact usage of the terms is very similar. However, the term common-pool resource is generally invoked to explore how people can use, but not overuse, a shared resource.

Common property: While a CPR refers to a resource as such, common property refers to a system of law that grants formal rights to access or use it. The terms CPR and common good point to a resource itself, for example, whereas common property points to the legal system that regulates how people may use it. Talking about prop- erty regimes is thus a very different register of representation than references to water, land, fishing grounds, or software code. Each of these can be managed by any number of different legal regimes; the resource and the legal regime are distinct. Commoners may choose to use a common property regime, but that regime does not constitute the commons.

Common (noun). While some traditionalists use the term “the common” instead of “commons” to refer to shared land or water, cul- tural theorists Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt introduced a new spin to the term “common” in their 2009 book Commonwealth. They speak of the common to emphasize the social processes that people engage in when cooperating, and to distinguish this idea from the commons as a physical resource. Hardt and Negri note that “the languages we create, the social practices we establish, the modes of sociality that define our relationships” constitute the common. For them, the common is a form of “biopolitical production” that points to a realm beyond property that exists alongside the private and the public, but which unfolds by engaging our affective selves. While this is similar to our use of the term commoning — commons as a verb — the Hardt/ Negri uses of the term “common” would seem to include all forms     of cooperation, without regard for purpose, and thus could include gangs and the mafia.

The common good: The term, used since the ancient Greeks, refers to positive outcomes for everyone in a society. It is a glittering gener- ality with no clear meaning because virtually all political and economic systems claim that they produce the most benefits for everyone.

Commons in Real Life

The best way to become acquainted with the commons is by learning about a few real-life examples. Therefore, we offer below five short pro- files to give a better feel for the contexts of commoning, their specific realities, and their sheer diversity. The examples can help us understand the commons as both a general paradigm of governance, provisioning, and social practice — a worldview and ethic, one might say — and a highly particular phenomenon. Each commons is one of a kind. There are no all-purpose models or “best practices” that define commons and commoning — only suggestive experiences and instructive patterns.

 

Zaatari Refugee Camp

The Zaatari Refugee camp in Jordan is a settlement of 78,000 dis- placed Syrians who began to arrive in 2012. The camp may seem like an unlikely illustration of the ideas of this book. Yet in the middle of a desolate landscape, people have devised large and elaborate sys- tems of shelters, neighborhoods, roads, and even a system of addresses. According to Kilian Kleinschmidt, a United Nations official once in charge of the camp, the Zaatari camp in 2015 had “14,000 house- holds, 10,000 sewage pots and private toilets, 3,000 washing machines, 150 private gardens, 3,500 new businesses and shops.”A reporter vis- iting the camp noted that some of the most elaborate houses there are “cobbled together from shelters, tents, cinder blocks and shipping con- tainers, with interior courtyards, private toilets and jerry-built sewers.” The settlement has a barbershop, a pet store, a flower shop and a home- made ice cream business. There is a pizza delivery service and a travel agency that provides a pickup service at the airport. Zaatari’s main drag is called the Champs-Élysées.5

Of course, Zaatari remains a troubled place with many problems, and the Jordanian state and United Nations remain in charge. But what makes it so notable as a refugee camp is the significant role that self-organized, bottom-up participation has played in building an improvised yet stable city. It is not simply a makeshift survival camp where wretched populations queue up for food, administrators deliver services, and people are treated as helpless victims. It is a place where refugees have been able to apply their own energies and imagina- tions in building the settlement. They have been able to take some responsibility for self-governance and owning their lives, earning a wel- come measure of dignity. You might say that Zaatari administrators and residents, in however partial a way, have recognized the virtues of commoning. The Zaatari experience tells us something about the power of self-organization, a core concept in the commons.

 

Buurtzorg Nederland

In the Dutch city of Almelo, nurse Jos de Blok was distressed at the steady decline of home care: “Quality was getting worse and worse, the clients’ satisfaction was decreasing, and the expenses were increasing,” he said. De Blok and a small team of professional nurses decided to form a new homecare organization, Buurtzorg Nederland.6 Rather than structure patient care on the model of a factory conveyor belt, delivering measurable units of market services with strict divisions of labor, the home care company relies on small, self-guided teams of highly trained nurses who serve fifty to sixty people in the same neighborhood. (The organization’s name, “Buurtzorg,” is Dutch for “neighborhood care.”) Care is holistic, focusing on a patient’s many personal needs, social circumstances, and long-term condition.

The first thing a nurse usually does when visiting a new patient is to sit down and have a chat and a cup of coffee. As de Blok put it, “People are not bicycles who can be organized according to an organizational chart.” In this respect, Buurtzorg nurses are carrying out the logic of “spending time” (in a commons) as opposed to “saving time” to be more efficient competitors. Interestingly, the emphasis on spending more time with patients results in them needing less professional care- time. If one thinks about it, this is not really a surprise: care-givers basically try to make themselves irrelevant in patients’ lives as quickly as possible, which encourages patients to become more independent. A 2009 study showed that Buurtzorg’s patients get released from care twice as fast as competitors’ clients, and they end up claiming only 50 percent of the prescribed hours of care.7

Nurses provide a full range of assistance to patients, from med- ical procedures to support services such as bathing. They also identify networks of informal care in a person’s neighborhood, support his or her social life, and promote self-care and independence.8 Buurtzorg is self-managed by nurses. The process is facilitated through a simple, flat organizational structure and information technology, including the use of inspirational blog posts by de Blok. Buurtzorg operates effectively at a large scale without the need for either hierarchy or consensus. In 2017 Buurtzorg employed about 9,000 nurses, who take care of 100,000 patients throughout the Netherlands, with new transnational initiatives underway in the US and Europe.9

It turns out Buurtzorg’s reconceptualization of home healthcare produces high-quality, humane treatment at relatively low costs. By 2015, Buurtzorg care had reduced emergency room visits by 30 percent, according to a KPMG study, and has reduced taxpayer expen- ditures on home care.10 Buurtzorg also has the most satisfied workforce of any Dutch company with more than 1,000 employees, according to an Ernst & Young study.11

 

WikiHouse

In 2011, two recent architectural graduates, Alastair Parvin and Nicholas Ierodiaconou, joined a London design practice called Zero Zero Architecture, where they were able to experiment with their ideas about open design. They wondered: What if architects, instead of cre- ating buildings for those who can afford to commission them, helped regular citizens design and build their own houses? This simple idea is at the heart of an astonishing open source construction kit for housing. Parvin and Ierodiaconou learned that a familiar technology known as CNC — computer numerical control fabrication — would enable them to make digital designs that could be used to fabricate large flat pieces from plywood or other material. This led them to develop the idea of publishing open source files for houses, which would let many people modify and improve the designs for different circumstances. It would also allow unskilled labor to quickly and inexpensively erect the structural shell of a home. They called the new design and construction system WikiHouse.12

Since its modest beginnings, WikiHouse has blossomed into a global design community. In 2017 it had eleven chapters in countries around the world, each of which works independently of the original WikiHouse, now a nonprofit foundation that shares the same mission. Simply put, WikiHouse participants want to “put the design solutions for building low-cost, low-energy, high-performance homes into the hands of every citizen and business on earth.” They want to encourage people to Produce Cosmo-Locally, a pattern described in Chapter 6 And they want to “grow a new, distributed housing industry, com- prised of many citizens, communities and small businesses developing homes and neighborhoods for themselves, reducing our dependence on top-down, debt-heavy mass housing systems.”

The WikiHouse Charter, a series of fifteen principles, sets forth the basic elements of the technologies, economics, and processes of open source house building. The Charter is one of many examples of how commoners Declare Shared Purpose & Values in developing Peer Governance (see Chapter 5). It includes core ideas such as design stan- dards to lower the thresholds of time, cost, skill, and energy needed to build a house; open standards and open source ShareAlike licenses for design elements; and empowering users to repair and modify features of their homes. By inviting users to adapt designs and tools to serve their own needs, WikiHouse seeks to provide a rich set of “convivial tools,” as described by social critic Ivan Illich. Tools should not attempt to control humans by prescribing narrow ways of doing things. Software should not be burdened with encryption and barriers to repair. Convivial tools are designed to unleash personal creativity and autonomy.13

 

Community Supported Agriculture

On any Saturday morning in the quiet Massachusetts town of Hadley, you will find families arriving at Next Barn Over farm to pick beans and strawberries from the fields, cut fresh herbs and flowers, and gather their weekly shares of potatoes, kale, onions, radishes, tomatoes, and other produce. Next Barn Over is a CSA farm — Community Supported Agriculture — which means that people buy upfront shares in the farm’s seasonal harvest and then pick up fresh produce weekly from April to November. In other words, CSA members pool the money, before production, and divide up the harvest among all members. This practice, used in thousands of CSAs around the world, inspired us to identify “Pool, Cap & Divide Up” as an important fea- ture of a commons economy (see Chapter 6).

A small share for two people in Next Barn Over costs US$415 while a large share suitable for six people costs US$725. By purchasing shares in the harvest at the beginning of the season, members give farmers the working capital they need and share the risks of production — bad weather, crop diseases, equipment issues. One could say they finance commons provisioning.

A CSA is not primarily a business model, however, because chasing profits is not the point. The point is for families and farmers to mutually support each other in growing healthy food in ecologically responsible ways. All the crops grown on Next Barn Over’s thirty-four acres are organic. Soil fertility is improved through the use of cover crops, organic fertilizers, compost, and manure, with regular crop rota- tion to reduce pests and disease. The farm uses solar panels from the barn roof. Drip irrigation systems minimize water usage. Next Barn Over also hosts periodic dinners at which families can socialize, dance to local bands’ music, and learn more about the realities of farming in the local ecosystem.

Since the founding of the first CSA in 1986, the idea has grown into an international movement, with more than 1,700 CSAs in the United States alone (2018) and hundreds of others worldwide. While some American CSAs behave almost like businesses, the original phi- losophy behind CSAs remains strong — to try to develop new forms of cooperation between farmers, workers, and members who are basically consumers. Some are inspired by teikei, a similar model that has been widely used in Japan since the 1970s (The word means “cooperation” or “joint business.”). Here, too, the focus is on smallholder agricul- ture, organic farming, and direct partnerships between farmers and consumer. One of the founding players in teikei, the Japan Association for Organic Agriculture, has stated its desire “to develop an alternative distribution system that does not depend on conventional markets.”14 The CSA experience is now inspiring a variety of regional agriculture and food distribution projects around the world, with the same end — to empower farmers and ordinary people, strengthen local economies, and avoid the problems caused by Big Agriculture (pesticides, GMOs, additives, processed foods, transport costs). The socio-economic model for CSAs is so solid that the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, which helped incubate the first CSA, is now developing the idea of “community supported industry” for local production. The idea is to use the principles of community mutualization to start and support local businesses — a furniture factory, an applesauce cannery, a humane slaughterhouse — in order to increase local self-reliance.

 

Guifi.net

Most people assume that only a large cable or telecommunications cor- poration with political connections and lots of capital can build the infrastructure for Wi-Fi service. The scrappy cooperative Guifi.net of Catalonia has proven that wrong. The enterprise has shown that it is entirely possible for commoners to build and maintain high-quality, affordable internet connections for everyone. By committing itself to principles of mutual ownership, net neutrality, and community con- trol, Guifi.net has grown from a single Wi-Fi node in 2004 to more than 35,000 nodes and 63,000 kilometers of wireless connectivity in July 2018, particularly in rural Catalonia.

Guifi.net got its start when Ramon Roca, a Spanish engineer at Oracle, hacked some off-the-shelf routers. The hack made the routers work as nodes in a mesh network-like system while connected to a single DSL line owned by Telefonica serving municipal governments. This jerry-rigged system enabled people to send and receive internet data using other, similarly hacked routers. As word spread, Roca’s innovation to deal with scarce internet access quickly caught on. As recounted by Wired magazine, Guifi.net grew its system through a kind of improvised crowdfunding system: “‘It was about announcing a plan, describing the cost, and asking for contributions,’ Roca says. The payments weren’t going to Guifi.net, but to the suppliers of gear and ISP [Internet Service Provider] network services. All of these initiatives laid the groundwork not just for building out the overall network, but also creating the array of ISPs.” What Guifi.net did was simply to Pool & Share (see Chapter 6 — it pooled resources and shared internet)

In 2008 Guifi.net established an affiliated foundation to help oversee volunteers, network operations, and governance of the entire system. As Wired described it, the foundation “handled network traffic to and among the providers; connected to the major data ‘interchange’ providing vast amounts of bandwidth between southern Spain and the rest of the world; planned deployment of fiber; and, crucially, devel- oped systems to ensure that the ISPs were paying their fair share of the overall data and network-management costs.”15

Guiding the entire project is a Compact for a Free, Open and Neutral Network, a charter that sets forth the key principles of the Guifi.net commons and the rights and freedoms of users:

  • You have the freedom to use the network for any purpose as long as you don’t harm the operation of the network itself, the rights of other users, or the principles of neutrality that allow contents and services to flow without deliberate
  • You have the right to understand the network and its components, and to share knowledge of its mechanisms and
  • You have the right to offer services and content to the network on your own
  • You have the right to join the network, and the obligation to extend this set of rights to anyone according to these same

Anyone who uses the Guifi.net infrastructure in Catalonia — indi- vidual internet users, small businesses, government, dozens of small internet service providers — is committed to “the development of a commons-based, free, open and neutral telecommunications network.” This has resulted in Guifi.net providing far better broadband service at cheaper prices than, say, Americans receive, who pay very high prices to a broadband oligopoly (a median of US$80 month in 2017) for slower connectivity and poor customer service. ISPs using Guifi.net were charging 18 to 35 euros a month in 2016 (roughly US$20–$37) for one gigabit fiber connections, and much lower prices for Wi-Fi. Commons are highly money efficient, as Wolfgang Sachs once pointed out. They enable us to become less reliant on money, and therefore more free from the structural coercion of markets.

Moreover, the Guifi.net experience shows that it is entirely possible to build “large-scale, locally owned, broadband infrastructure in more locations than telco [telephone company] incumbents,” as open tech- nology advocate Sascha Meinrath put it.16 The mutualizing of costs and benefits in a commons regime has a lot to do with this success.

 

Understanding Commons Holistically in the Wild

How to make sense of these very different commons? Newcomers to the topic often throw up their hands in confusion because they cannot readily see the deeper patterns that make a commons a commons. They find it perplexing that so many diverse phenomena can be described by the same term. This problem is really a matter of training one’s perception. Everyone is familiar with the “free market” even though its variations — stock markets, grocery stores, filmmaking, mining, personal services, labor — are at least as eclectic as the commons. But culturally, we regard the diversity of markets as normal whereas com- mons are nearly invisible.

The strange truth is that a popular language for understanding contemporary commons is almost entirely absent. Social science schol- arship on the topic is often obscure and highly specialized, and the economic literature tends to treat commons as physical resources, not as social systems. But rather than focus on the resource that each depends on, it makes more sense to focus on the ways in which each is similar. 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 (pro- visioning) into an integrated whole.

 

Every commons is based on natural resources. Every commons is a knowledge commons. Every commons depends on a social process.

 

So a big part of our challenge is to recover the neglected social history of commons and learn how it applies to contemporary cir- cumstances. This requires a conceptual framework, new language, and stories that anyone can understand. Explaining the commons with the vocabulary of capital, business, and standard economics cannot work. It is like using the metaphors of clockworks and machines to explain complex living systems. To learn how commons actually work, we need to escape deeply rooted habits of thought and cultivate some fresh perspectives.

This task becomes easier once we realize that there is no single, universal template for assessing a commons. Each bears the distinctive marks of its own special origins, culture, people, and context. Yet there are also many deep, recurrent patterns of commoning that allow us to make some careful generalizations. Commons that superficially appear quite different often have remarkable similarities in how they govern themselves, divide up resources, protect themselves against enclosure, and cultivate shared intentionality. In other words, commons are not standardized machines that can be built from the same blueprint. They are living systems that evolve, adapt over time, and surprise us with their creativity and scope.

The word “patterns” as we use it here deserves a bit of explanation. Our usage derives from the ideas developed by architect and philos- opher Christopher Alexander in his celebrated 1977 book A Pattern Language — ideas that are further elaborated on in his four-volume masterwork, The Nature of Order, the result of twenty-seven years of research and original thinking. Alexander and his co-authors brilliantly blend an empirical scientific perspective with ideas about the formative role of beauty and grace in everyday life and design, resulting in what we would call “enlivenment.”17

In Alexander’s view, a pattern describes “a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solu- tion a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”18 In other words, patterns-thinking and solutions based on it are never decontextualized, nor disconnected from what we think and feel. We suggest looking closely at the underlying patterns of thriving social pro- cesses for inspiration while keeping in mind that a successful commons cannot be copied and pasted. Each must develop its own appropriate localized, context-specific solutions. Each must satisfy practical needs and deeper human aspirations and interests.

In this volume, we attempt to identify the patterns that are building a growing constellation of commons around the world — the Commonsverse. In our account of this realm, we are both descrip- tive and aspirational — descriptive in assessing how diverse commons function, and aspirational in trying to imagine how the known com- moning dynamics could plausibly grow and become a distinct sector of the political economy and culture. We draw on the social sciences to discuss important aspects of the commons. But we also draw upon our own extensive firsthand experiences in talking with commoners and learning about their remarkable communities. We wish to describe a rich, textured field of human creativity and social organization that has been overlooked for too long, while reassuring the reader that commons are not so complicated and obscure that only professionals can grasp them. In fact, they arise from common people doing fairly common things that only seem uncommon in market-oriented societies.

In the course of our travels, we have been astonished at the remark- able range of circumstances in which commoning occurs. This has led us to wonder: Why do so many discussions about commons rely on economic categories of analysis (“types of goods,” “resource allocation,” “productivity,” “transaction costs”) when commons are primarily social systems for meeting shared needs? This question propelled us on a pro- cess to reconceptualize in its fullest sense what it means to engage in commoning.

We think that such a perspective contributes to a broader para- digm shift. It helps us to redefine the very idea of the economy and enlarge the functional scope of democratic action. Commons meet real needs while changing culture and identity. They influence our social practices, ethics, and worldviews and in so doing change the very char- acter of politics. To understand these deeper currents, we need a richer framework for making sense of the commons. We need it to better explain the internal dynamics of peer governance and provisioning — and also the ways in which commoning connects the larger political economy and our inner lives. In short, we must see that the commons requires a new worldview.

Part I: The Commons as a Transformative Perspective

1. Commons and Commoning

Can human beings really learn to cooperate with each other in routine, large-scale ways? A great deal of evidence suggests we can. There is no innate, genetic impediment to cooperation. It’s quite the opposite. In one memorable experiment conducted by developmental and comparative psychologist Michael Tomasello, a bright-eyed tod- dler watches a man carrying an armful of books as he repeatedly bumps into a closet door. The adult can’t seem to open the closet, and the toddler is concerned. The child spontaneously walks over to the door and opens it, inviting the inept adult to put the books into the closet. In another experiment, an adult repeatedly fails to place a blue tablet on top of an existing stack of tablets. A toddler seated across from the clumsy man grabs the fallen tablets and carefully places each one neatly on the top of the stack. In yet another test, an adult who had been stapling papers in a room leaves, and upon returning with a new set of papers, finds that someone has moved his stapler. A one-year-old infant in the room immediately understands the adult’s problem, and points helpfully at the missing stapler, now on a shelf.

For Tomasello, a core insight came into focus from these and other experiments: human beings instinctively want to help others. In his painstaking attempts to understand the origins of human cooperation, Tomasello and his team have sought to isolate the workings of this human impulse and to differentiate it from the behaviors of other spe- cies, especially primates. From years of research, he has concluded that “from around their first birthdays — when they first begin to walk and talk and become truly cultural beings — human children are already cooperative and helpful in many, though obviously not all, situations. And they do not learn this from adults; it comes naturally.”1 Even infants from fourteen to eighteen months of age show the capacity to fetch out-of-reach objects, remove obstacles facing others, correct an adult’s mistake, and choose the correct behaviors for a given task.

Of course, complications arise and multiply as young children grow up. They learn that some people are not trustworthy and that others don’t reciprocate acts of kindness. Children learn to internalize social norms and ethical expectations, especially from societal institutions. As they mature, children associate schooling with economic success, learn to package personal reputation into a marketable brand, and find satisfaction in buying and selling.

While the drama of acculturation plays out in many different ways, the larger story of the human species is its versatile capacity for coop- eration. We have the unique potential to express and act upon shared intentionality. “What makes us [human beings] really different is our ability to put our heads together and to do things that none of us could do alone, to create new resources that we couldn’t create alone,” says Tomasello. “It’s really all about communicating and collaborating and working together.” We are able to do this because we can grasp that other human beings have inner lives with emotions and intentions. We become aware of a shared condition that goes beyond a narrow, self-referential identity. Any individual identity is always, also, part of collective iden- tities that guide how a person thinks, behaves, and solves problems. All of us have been indelibly shaped by our relations with peers and society, and by the language, rituals, and traditions that constitute our cultures. In other words, the conceit that we are “self-made” individuals is a delusion. There is no such thing as an isolated “I.” As we will explore later, each of us is really a Nested-I. We are not only embedded in relationships; our very identities are created through relationships. The Nested-I concept helps us deal more honestly with the encompassing reality of human identity and development. We humans truly are the “cooperative species,” as economists Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis have put it.2 The question is whether or not this deep human instinct will be encouraged to unfold. And if cooperation is encouraged, will it aim to serve all or instead be channeled to serve individualistic, parochial ends?

 

Commoning Is Everywhere, but Widely Misunderstood

In our previous books The Wealth of the Commons (2012) and Patterns of Commoning (2015), we documented dozens of notable commons, suggesting that the actual scope and impact of commoning in today’s world is quite large. Our capacity to self-organize to address needs, independent of the state or market, can be seen in community forests, cooperatively run farms and fisheries, open source design and manufac- turing communities with global reach, local and regional currencies, and myriad other examples in all realms of life. 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. The impulse to common plays out in the most varied circumstances — impoverished urban neighborhoods, landscapes hit by natural disas- ters, subsistence farms in the heart of Africa, social networks that come together in cyberspace. And yet, strangely, the commons paradigm is rarely seen as a pervasive social form, perhaps because it so often lives in the shadows of state and market power. It is not recognized as a pow- erful social force and institutional form in its own right. For us, to talk about the commons is to talk about freedom-in-connectedness — a social space in which we can rediscover and remake ourselves as whole human beings and enjoy some serious measure of self-determination. The discourse around commons and commoning helps us see that indi- viduals working together can bring forth more humane, ethical, and ecologically responsible societies. It is plausible to imagine a stable, sup- portive post-capitalist order. The very act of commoning, as it expands and registers on the larger culture, catalyzes new political and economic possibilities.

Let us be clear: the commons is not a utopian fantasy. It is some- thing that is happening right now. It can be seen in countless villages and cities, in the Global South and the industrial North, in open source software communities and global cyber-networks. Our first challenge is to name the many acts of commoning in our midst and make them culturally legible. They must be perceived and understood if they are going to be nourished, protected, and expanded. That is the burden of the following chapters and the reason why we propose a new, general framework for understanding commons and commoning.

The commons is not simply about “sharing,” as it happens in count- less areas of life. It is about sharing and bringing into being durable social systems for producing shareable things and activities. Nor is the commons about the misleading idea of the “tragedy of the commons.”

This term was popularized by a famous essay by biologist Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” which appeared in the influ- ential journal Science in 1968.3 Paul Ehrlich had just published The Population Bomb, a Malthusian account of a world overwhelmed by sheer numbers of people. In this context, Hardin told a fictional par- able of a shared pasture on which no herdsman has a rational incentive to limit the grazing of his cattle. The inevitable result, said Hardin, is that each herdsman will selfishly use as much of the common resource as possible, which will inevitably result in its overuse and ruin — the so-called tragedy of the commons. Possible solutions, Hardin argued, are to grant private property rights to the resource in question, or have the government administer it as public property or on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hardin’s article went on to become the most-cited article in the history of the journal Science, and the phrase “tragedy of the commons” became a cultural buzzword. His fanciful story, endlessly repeated by economists, social scientists, and politicians, has persuaded most people that the commons is a failed management regime. And yet Hardin’s anal- ysis has some remarkable flaws. Most importantly, he was not describing a commons! He was describing a free-for-all in which nothing is owned and everything is free for the taking — an “unmanaged common pool resource,” as some would say. As commons scholar Lewis Hyde has puckishly suggested, Hardin’s “tragedy” thesis ought to be renamed “The Tragedy of Unmanaged, Laissez-Faire, Commons-Pool Resources with Easy Access for Non-Communicating, Self-Interested Individuals.”

In an actual commons, things are different. A distinct community governs a shared resource and its usage. Users negotiate their own rules, assign responsibilities and entitlements, and set up monitoring systems to identify and penalize free riders. To be sure, finite resources can be overexploited, but that outcome is more associated with free markets than with commons. It is no coincidence that our current period of history, in which capitalist markets and private property rights prevail in most places, has produced the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s his- tory, an unprecedented loss of fertile soil, disruptions in the hydrologic cycle, and a dangerously warming atmosphere.

As we will see in this book, the commons has so many rich facets that it cannot be easily contained within a single definition. But it helps to clarify how certain terms often associated with the commons are not, in fact, the same as a commons.

What Is and Is Not a Commons:
Some Clarifications

Commons are living social systems through which people to address their shared problems in self-organized ways. Unfortunately, some people incorrectly use the term to describe unowned things such as oceans, space, and the moon, or collectively owned resources such as water, forests, and land. As a result, the term commons is frequently conflated with economic concepts that express a very different worl- dview. Terms such as common goods, common-pool resources, and common property misrepresent the commons because they empha- size objects and individuals, not relationships and systems. Here are some of the misleading terms associated with commons.

Common goods: A term used in neoclassical economy to distin- guish among certain types of goods — common goods, club goods, public goods, and private goods. Common goods are said to be diffi- cult to fence off (in economic jargon, they are “nonexcludable”) and susceptible to being used up (“rivalrous”). In other words, common goods tend to get depleted when we share them. Conventional eco- nomics presumes that the excludability and depletability of a common good are inherent in the good itself, but this is mistaken. It is not the good that is excludable or not, it’s people who are being excluded     or not. A social choice is being made. Similarly, the depletability of a common good has little to do with the good   itself, and everything   to do with how we choose to make use of water, land, space, or for- ests. By calling the land, water, or forest a “good,” economists are in fact making a social judgment: they are presuming that something is   a resource suitable for market valuation and trade — a presumption that a different culture may wish to reject.

Common-pool resources or CPRs: This term is used by com- mons scholars, mostly in the tradition of Elinor Ostrom, to analyze how shared resources such as fishing grounds, groundwater basins or grazing areas can be managed. Common-pool resources are regarded as common goods, and in fact usage of the terms is very similar. However, the term common-pool resource is generally invoked to explore how people can use, but not overuse, a shared resource.

Common property: While a CPR refers to a resource as such, common property refers to a system of law that grants formal rights to access or use it. The terms CPR and common good point to a resource itself, for example, whereas common property points to the legal system that regulates how people may use it. Talking about prop- erty regimes is thus a very different register of representation than references to water, land, fishing grounds, or software code. Each of these can be managed by any number of different legal regimes; the resource and the legal regime are distinct. Commoners may choose to use a common property regime, but that regime does not constitute the commons.

Common (noun). While some traditionalists use the term “the common” instead of “commons” to refer to shared land or water, cul- tural theorists Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt introduced a new spin to the term “common” in their 2009 book Commonwealth. They speak of the common to emphasize the social processes that people engage in when cooperating, and to distinguish this idea from the commons as a physical resource. Hardt and Negri note that “the languages we create, the social practices we establish, the modes of sociality that define our relationships” constitute the common. For them, the common is a form of “biopolitical production” that points to a realm beyond property that exists alongside the private and the public, but which unfolds by engaging our affective selves. While this is similar to our use of the term commoning — commons as a verb — the Hardt/ Negri uses of the term “common” would seem to include all forms     of cooperation, without regard for purpose, and thus could include gangs and the mafia.

The common good: The term, used since the ancient Greeks, refers to positive outcomes for everyone in a society. It is a glittering gener- ality with no clear meaning because virtually all political and economic systems claim that they produce the most benefits for everyone.

Commons in Real Life

The best way to become acquainted with the commons is by learning about a few real-life examples. Therefore, we offer below five short pro- files to give a better feel for the contexts of commoning, their specific realities, and their sheer diversity. The examples can help us understand the commons as both a general paradigm of governance, provisioning, and social practice — a worldview and ethic, one might say — and a highly particular phenomenon. Each commons is one of a kind. There are no all-purpose models or “best practices” that define commons and commoning — only suggestive experiences and instructive patterns.

 

Zaatari Refugee Camp

The Zaatari Refugee camp in Jordan is a settlement of 78,000 dis- placed Syrians who began to arrive in 2012. The camp may seem like an unlikely illustration of the ideas of this book. Yet in the middle of a desolate landscape, people have devised large and elaborate sys- tems of shelters, neighborhoods, roads, and even a system of addresses. According to Kilian Kleinschmidt, a United Nations official once in charge of the camp, the Zaatari camp in 2015 had “14,000 house- holds, 10,000 sewage pots and private toilets, 3,000 washing machines, 150 private gardens, 3,500 new businesses and shops.”A reporter vis- iting the camp noted that some of the most elaborate houses there are “cobbled together from shelters, tents, cinder blocks and shipping con- tainers, with interior courtyards, private toilets and jerry-built sewers.” The settlement has a barbershop, a pet store, a flower shop and a home- made ice cream business. There is a pizza delivery service and a travel agency that provides a pickup service at the airport. Zaatari’s main drag is called the Champs-Élysées.5

Of course, Zaatari remains a troubled place with many problems, and the Jordanian state and United Nations remain in charge. But what makes it so notable as a refugee camp is the significant role that self-organized, bottom-up participation has played in building an improvised yet stable city. It is not simply a makeshift survival camp where wretched populations queue up for food, administrators deliver services, and people are treated as helpless victims. It is a place where refugees have been able to apply their own energies and imagina- tions in building the settlement. They have been able to take some responsibility for self-governance and owning their lives, earning a wel- come measure of dignity. You might say that Zaatari administrators and residents, in however partial a way, have recognized the virtues of commoning. The Zaatari experience tells us something about the power of self-organization, a core concept in the commons.

 

Buurtzorg Nederland

In the Dutch city of Almelo, nurse Jos de Blok was distressed at the steady decline of home care: “Quality was getting worse and worse, the clients’ satisfaction was decreasing, and the expenses were increasing,” he said. De Blok and a small team of professional nurses decided to form a new homecare organization, Buurtzorg Nederland.6 Rather than structure patient care on the model of a factory conveyor belt, delivering measurable units of market services with strict divisions of labor, the home care company relies on small, self-guided teams of highly trained nurses who serve fifty to sixty people in the same neighborhood. (The organization’s name, “Buurtzorg,” is Dutch for “neighborhood care.”) Care is holistic, focusing on a patient’s many personal needs, social circumstances, and long-term condition.

The first thing a nurse usually does when visiting a new patient is to sit down and have a chat and a cup of coffee. As de Blok put it, “People are not bicycles who can be organized according to an organizational chart.” In this respect, Buurtzorg nurses are carrying out the logic of “spending time” (in a commons) as opposed to “saving time” to be more efficient competitors. Interestingly, the emphasis on spending more time with patients results in them needing less professional care- time. If one thinks about it, this is not really a surprise: care-givers basically try to make themselves irrelevant in patients’ lives as quickly as possible, which encourages patients to become more independent. A 2009 study showed that Buurtzorg’s patients get released from care twice as fast as competitors’ clients, and they end up claiming only 50 percent of the prescribed hours of care.7

Nurses provide a full range of assistance to patients, from med- ical procedures to support services such as bathing. They also identify networks of informal care in a person’s neighborhood, support his or her social life, and promote self-care and independence.8 Buurtzorg is self-managed by nurses. The process is facilitated through a simple, flat organizational structure and information technology, including the use of inspirational blog posts by de Blok. Buurtzorg operates effectively at a large scale without the need for either hierarchy or consensus. In 2017 Buurtzorg employed about 9,000 nurses, who take care of 100,000 patients throughout the Netherlands, with new transnational initiatives underway in the US and Europe.9

It turns out Buurtzorg’s reconceptualization of home healthcare produces high-quality, humane treatment at relatively low costs. By 2015, Buurtzorg care had reduced emergency room visits by 30 percent, according to a KPMG study, and has reduced taxpayer expen- ditures on home care.10 Buurtzorg also has the most satisfied workforce of any Dutch company with more than 1,000 employees, according to an Ernst & Young study.11

 

WikiHouse

In 2011, two recent architectural graduates, Alastair Parvin and Nicholas Ierodiaconou, joined a London design practice called Zero Zero Architecture, where they were able to experiment with their ideas about open design. They wondered: What if architects, instead of cre- ating buildings for those who can afford to commission them, helped regular citizens design and build their own houses? This simple idea is at the heart of an astonishing open source construction kit for housing. Parvin and Ierodiaconou learned that a familiar technology known as CNC — computer numerical control fabrication — would enable them to make digital designs that could be used to fabricate large flat pieces from plywood or other material. This led them to develop the idea of publishing open source files for houses, which would let many people modify and improve the designs for different circumstances. It would also allow unskilled labor to quickly and inexpensively erect the structural shell of a home. They called the new design and construction system WikiHouse.12

Since its modest beginnings, WikiHouse has blossomed into a global design community. In 2017 it had eleven chapters in countries around the world, each of which works independently of the original WikiHouse, now a nonprofit foundation that shares the same mission. Simply put, WikiHouse participants want to “put the design solutions for building low-cost, low-energy, high-performance homes into the hands of every citizen and business on earth.” They want to encourage people to Produce Cosmo-Locally, a pattern described in Chapter 6 And they want to “grow a new, distributed housing industry, com- prised of many citizens, communities and small businesses developing homes and neighborhoods for themselves, reducing our dependence on top-down, debt-heavy mass housing systems.”

The WikiHouse Charter, a series of fifteen principles, sets forth the basic elements of the technologies, economics, and processes of open source house building. The Charter is one of many examples of how commoners Declare Shared Purpose & Values in developing Peer Governance (see Chapter 5). It includes core ideas such as design stan- dards to lower the thresholds of time, cost, skill, and energy needed to build a house; open standards and open source ShareAlike licenses for design elements; and empowering users to repair and modify features of their homes. By inviting users to adapt designs and tools to serve their own needs, WikiHouse seeks to provide a rich set of “convivial tools,” as described by social critic Ivan Illich. Tools should not attempt to control humans by prescribing narrow ways of doing things. Software should not be burdened with encryption and barriers to repair. Convivial tools are designed to unleash personal creativity and autonomy.13

 

Community Supported Agriculture

On any Saturday morning in the quiet Massachusetts town of Hadley, you will find families arriving at Next Barn Over farm to pick beans and strawberries from the fields, cut fresh herbs and flowers, and gather their weekly shares of potatoes, kale, onions, radishes, tomatoes, and other produce. Next Barn Over is a CSA farm — Community Supported Agriculture — which means that people buy upfront shares in the farm’s seasonal harvest and then pick up fresh produce weekly from April to November. In other words, CSA members pool the money, before production, and divide up the harvest among all members. This practice, used in thousands of CSAs around the world, inspired us to identify “Pool, Cap & Divide Up” as an important fea- ture of a commons economy (see Chapter 6).

A small share for two people in Next Barn Over costs US$415 while a large share suitable for six people costs US$725. By purchasing shares in the harvest at the beginning of the season, members give farmers the working capital they need and share the risks of production — bad weather, crop diseases, equipment issues. One could say they finance commons provisioning.

A CSA is not primarily a business model, however, because chasing profits is not the point. The point is for families and farmers to mutually support each other in growing healthy food in ecologically responsible ways. All the crops grown on Next Barn Over’s thirty-four acres are organic. Soil fertility is improved through the use of cover crops, organic fertilizers, compost, and manure, with regular crop rota- tion to reduce pests and disease. The farm uses solar panels from the barn roof. Drip irrigation systems minimize water usage. Next Barn Over also hosts periodic dinners at which families can socialize, dance to local bands’ music, and learn more about the realities of farming in the local ecosystem.

Since the founding of the first CSA in 1986, the idea has grown into an international movement, with more than 1,700 CSAs in the United States alone (2018) and hundreds of others worldwide. While some American CSAs behave almost like businesses, the original phi- losophy behind CSAs remains strong — to try to develop new forms of cooperation between farmers, workers, and members who are basically consumers. Some are inspired by teikei, a similar model that has been widely used in Japan since the 1970s (The word means “cooperation” or “joint business.”). Here, too, the focus is on smallholder agricul- ture, organic farming, and direct partnerships between farmers and consumer. One of the founding players in teikei, the Japan Association for Organic Agriculture, has stated its desire “to develop an alternative distribution system that does not depend on conventional markets.”14 The CSA experience is now inspiring a variety of regional agriculture and food distribution projects around the world, with the same end — to empower farmers and ordinary people, strengthen local economies, and avoid the problems caused by Big Agriculture (pesticides, GMOs, additives, processed foods, transport costs). The socio-economic model for CSAs is so solid that the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, which helped incubate the first CSA, is now developing the idea of “community supported industry” for local production. The idea is to use the principles of community mutualization to start and support local businesses — a furniture factory, an applesauce cannery, a humane slaughterhouse — in order to increase local self-reliance.

 

Guifi.net

Most people assume that only a large cable or telecommunications cor- poration with political connections and lots of capital can build the infrastructure for Wi-Fi service. The scrappy cooperative Guifi.net of Catalonia has proven that wrong. The enterprise has shown that it is entirely possible for commoners to build and maintain high-quality, affordable internet connections for everyone. By committing itself to principles of mutual ownership, net neutrality, and community con- trol, Guifi.net has grown from a single Wi-Fi node in 2004 to more than 35,000 nodes and 63,000 kilometers of wireless connectivity in July 2018, particularly in rural Catalonia.

Guifi.net got its start when Ramon Roca, a Spanish engineer at Oracle, hacked some off-the-shelf routers. The hack made the routers work as nodes in a mesh network-like system while connected to a single DSL line owned by Telefonica serving municipal governments. This jerry-rigged system enabled people to send and receive internet data using other, similarly hacked routers. As word spread, Roca’s innovation to deal with scarce internet access quickly caught on. As recounted by Wired magazine, Guifi.net grew its system through a kind of improvised crowdfunding system: “‘It was about announcing a plan, describing the cost, and asking for contributions,’ Roca says. The payments weren’t going to Guifi.net, but to the suppliers of gear and ISP [Internet Service Provider] network services. All of these initiatives laid the groundwork not just for building out the overall network, but also creating the array of ISPs.” What Guifi.net did was simply to Pool & Share (see Chapter 6 — it pooled resources and shared internet)

In 2008 Guifi.net established an affiliated foundation to help oversee volunteers, network operations, and governance of the entire system. As Wired described it, the foundation “handled network traffic to and among the providers; connected to the major data ‘interchange’ providing vast amounts of bandwidth between southern Spain and the rest of the world; planned deployment of fiber; and, crucially, devel- oped systems to ensure that the ISPs were paying their fair share of the overall data and network-management costs.”15

Guiding the entire project is a Compact for a Free, Open and Neutral Network, a charter that sets forth the key principles of the Guifi.net commons and the rights and freedoms of users:

  • You have the freedom to use the network for any purpose as long as you don’t harm the operation of the network itself, the rights of other users, or the principles of neutrality that allow contents and services to flow without deliberate
  • You have the right to understand the network and its components, and to share knowledge of its mechanisms and
  • You have the right to offer services and content to the network on your own
  • You have the right to join the network, and the obligation to extend this set of rights to anyone according to these same

Anyone who uses the Guifi.net infrastructure in Catalonia — indi- vidual internet users, small businesses, government, dozens of small internet service providers — is committed to “the development of a commons-based, free, open and neutral telecommunications network.” This has resulted in Guifi.net providing far better broadband service at cheaper prices than, say, Americans receive, who pay very high prices to a broadband oligopoly (a median of US$80 month in 2017) for slower connectivity and poor customer service. ISPs using Guifi.net were charging 18 to 35 euros a month in 2016 (roughly US$20–$37) for one gigabit fiber connections, and much lower prices for Wi-Fi. Commons are highly money efficient, as Wolfgang Sachs once pointed out. They enable us to become less reliant on money, and therefore more free from the structural coercion of markets.

Moreover, the Guifi.net experience shows that it is entirely possible to build “large-scale, locally owned, broadband infrastructure in more locations than telco [telephone company] incumbents,” as open tech- nology advocate Sascha Meinrath put it.16 The mutualizing of costs and benefits in a commons regime has a lot to do with this success.

 

Understanding Commons Holistically in the Wild

How to make sense of these very different commons? Newcomers to the topic often throw up their hands in confusion because they cannot readily see the deeper patterns that make a commons a commons. They find it perplexing that so many diverse phenomena can be described by the same term. This problem is really a matter of training one’s perception. Everyone is familiar with the “free market” even though its variations — stock markets, grocery stores, filmmaking, mining, personal services, labor — are at least as eclectic as the commons. But culturally, we regard the diversity of markets as normal whereas com- mons are nearly invisible.

The strange truth is that a popular language for understanding contemporary commons is almost entirely absent. Social science schol- arship on the topic is often obscure and highly specialized, and the economic literature tends to treat commons as physical resources, not as social systems. But rather than focus on the resource that each depends on, it makes more sense to focus on the ways in which each is similar. 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 (pro- visioning) into an integrated whole.

 

Every commons is based on natural resources. Every commons is a knowledge commons. Every commons depends on a social process.

 

So a big part of our challenge is to recover the neglected social history of commons and learn how it applies to contemporary cir- cumstances. This requires a conceptual framework, new language, and stories that anyone can understand. Explaining the commons with the vocabulary of capital, business, and standard economics cannot work. It is like using the metaphors of clockworks and machines to explain complex living systems. To learn how commons actually work, we need to escape deeply rooted habits of thought and cultivate some fresh perspectives.

This task becomes easier once we realize that there is no single, universal template for assessing a commons. Each bears the distinctive marks of its own special origins, culture, people, and context. Yet there are also many deep, recurrent patterns of commoning that allow us to make some careful generalizations. Commons that superficially appear quite different often have remarkable similarities in how they govern themselves, divide up resources, protect themselves against enclosure, and cultivate shared intentionality. In other words, commons are not standardized machines that can be built from the same blueprint. They are living systems that evolve, adapt over time, and surprise us with their creativity and scope.

The word “patterns” as we use it here deserves a bit of explanation. Our usage derives from the ideas developed by architect and philos- opher Christopher Alexander in his celebrated 1977 book A Pattern Language — ideas that are further elaborated on in his four-volume masterwork, The Nature of Order, the result of twenty-seven years of research and original thinking. Alexander and his co-authors brilliantly blend an empirical scientific perspective with ideas about the formative role of beauty and grace in everyday life and design, resulting in what we would call “enlivenment.”17

In Alexander’s view, a pattern describes “a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solu- tion a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”18 In other words, patterns-thinking and solutions based on it are never decontextualized, nor disconnected from what we think and feel. We suggest looking closely at the underlying patterns of thriving social pro- cesses for inspiration while keeping in mind that a successful commons cannot be copied and pasted. Each must develop its own appropriate localized, context-specific solutions. Each must satisfy practical needs and deeper human aspirations and interests.

In this volume, we attempt to identify the patterns that are building a growing constellation of commons around the world — the Commonsverse. In our account of this realm, we are both descrip- tive and aspirational — descriptive in assessing how diverse commons function, and aspirational in trying to imagine how the known com- moning dynamics could plausibly grow and become a distinct sector of the political economy and culture. We draw on the social sciences to discuss important aspects of the commons. But we also draw upon our own extensive firsthand experiences in talking with commoners and learning about their remarkable communities. We wish to describe a rich, textured field of human creativity and social organization that has been overlooked for too long, while reassuring the reader that commons are not so complicated and obscure that only professionals can grasp them. In fact, they arise from common people doing fairly common things that only seem uncommon in market-oriented societies.

In the course of our travels, we have been astonished at the remark- able range of circumstances in which commoning occurs. This has led us to wonder: Why do so many discussions about commons rely on economic categories of analysis (“types of goods,” “resource allocation,” “productivity,” “transaction costs”) when commons are primarily social systems for meeting shared needs? This question propelled us on a pro- cess to reconceptualize in its fullest sense what it means to engage in commoning.

We think that such a perspective contributes to a broader para- digm shift. It helps us to redefine the very idea of the economy and enlarge the functional scope of democratic action. Commons meet real needs while changing culture and identity. They influence our social practices, ethics, and worldviews and in so doing change the very char- acter of politics. To understand these deeper currents, we need a richer framework for making sense of the commons. We need it to better explain the internal dynamics of peer governance and provisioning — and also the ways in which commoning connects the larger political economy and our inner lives. In short, we must see that the commons requires a new worldview.

Background Materials

Acknowledgments

No book is a solitary achievement because it can only grow from within a rich network of friends and colleagues, benefactors, critics, advisors, test readers, research sources, and indulgent family members. In a sense, a virtual commons must arise. That’s what enabled the research, reflection, debate, writing, and revision that produced this book. One of the joys of finishing a book is saluting the many people who were indispensable in making it happen.

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) is clearly our closest, most enduring partner. The earliest commitment to exploring the com- mons came from Barbara Unmussig, president of hbs, and Heike Löschmann, then head of the Department of International Politics, in 2009. Both of them have been steadfast champions of the commons and our work. Since this book got underway in 2016, we have been blessed by the intense care and support of Joanna Barelkowska at hbs, who kept everything on track, including our spirits, and by Jörg Haas, the incoming head of the Department of International Politics, who has been a strong champion of this book.

David Bollier is grateful to Peter Buffett and Jennifer Buffett, co-presidents of the NoVo Foundation, for their stalwart support of work on the commons, including this book. He also wishes to thank Susan Witt, Director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, for her collegiality, advice, and enthusiastic commitment to reinventing the commons. Once again, David wishes to thank Norman Lear for his steadfast, inspirational role over many years in supporting his research and activism on the commons.

Silke Helfrich is deeply grateful to colleagues at the Institute of Advanced Studies on Sustainability (IASS) in Potsdam, for providing a caring, co-creative environment for several weeks in 2018. She especially wishes to thank the AMA team (A Mindset for the Anthropocene), Jessica Böhme, Man Fang, Carolin Fraude, Zachary Walsh, and ftomas Bruhn, who opened up a space to discuss how the commons might be at the center of creating a better mindset for the Anthropocene, and suggested improvements in the German version of the manuscript.

Because so much of our thinking about the commons strikes off in new directions, we have relied upon the insights and wisdom of a diverse array of test readers — practitioners, academics, activists, and others with a deep familiarity with various dimensions of commoning. ftree especially dedicated, conscientious readers — Joanna Barelkowska, Julia Petzold, and Wolfgang Sachs — read most of the manuscript in advance, rooting out errors and gently urging us to reconsider this thought and that wording. In similar ways, we also benefited from thoughtful comments by Saki Bailey, Adelheid Biesecker, Bruce Caron, Jonathan Dawson, Gustavo Esteva Figueroa, Sheila Foster, Claudia Gómez- Portugal M., Samar Hassan, Bob Jessop, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Kris Krois, Miguel Martinez, Silvia Maria Díaz Molina, Janelle Orsi, Jorge Rath, David Rozas, Neera Singh, Johann Steudle, Orsan Senalp, Simon Sutterlütti, John Thackara, Stacco Troncoso, Carlos Uriona, Ann Marie Utratel, and Andreas Weber.

Because so much of the commons remains underexplored in the academic literature, we often turned to people with personal experi- ence in one or another specific topic, context, or commons. We are grateful to Laura Valentukeviciute and Katrin Kusche for sharing their knowledge on public-private partnerships and helping to imagine alternatives. Paula Segal’s personal tour of the Park Slope Food Coop, including its General Assembly, helped us understand that venture with greater insight. Dina Hestad shared with us many hard-won nug- gets of wisdom about transformational movements. We also learned a great deal about the messy realities and the solutions commoners come up with when interviewing Rainer Kippe on the SSM organization in Cologne; Peter Kolbe on Klimaschutz+; Amanda Huron, Sara Mewes, Johannes Euler, and Jochen Schmidt on housing commons; Siri and Oscar Kjellberg on Baskemölla Ekoby; Natalia-Rozalia Avlona on the Sarantoporo Community Network; Bettina Weber and Tom Hansing on Offene Werkstätten (Open Workshops); and Izabela Glowinska and Paul Adrian Schulz on Vivihouse.

On many occasions, our self-education about the commons was greatly advanced simply by being in the presence of active communities of practice. Ward Cunningham, Jon Richter, and the Federated Wiki community opened our eyes to the enormous possibilities of that tech platform. Similarly, Eric Harris-Braun, Ferananda Ibarra, and Jean Russell were patient and brilliant in explaining the Holochain protocols for commoning. Over the years, the Commons Strategies Group (of which we are cofounders) hosted a number of Deep Dive workshops that exposed us to some remarkable thinkers, activists, and fields of experimentation. We are grateful to Michel Bauwens for his invaluable collaboration and insights in these many discussions. A big thanks, too, to the dozens of participants in those gatherings for so freely sharing their knowledge and helping us think through vexing questions involving the commons.

The German Commons Summer School, and especially Heike Pourian, were among the first group of commoners to react to early versions of our patterns of commoning. They helped us confirm that we were on the right track, prodded us to clarify the field of inquiry for each pattern, and helped refine the names for many of our final patterns of commoning in German (especially Julia Petzold and Sandra Lustig). Needless to say, none of these people bear any responsibility for any errors or misinterpretations that may have crept into the text.

Because Silke lives in Germany and David in the US, we had to find creative ways to orchestrate in-person meetings to make sense of our research and develop our ideas. Fortunately, we had a number of gracious friends and colleagues who helped us find, or actually offered, wonderful spaces in which to work. At a critical stage in our thinking, Tilman Santarius and his family lent us their gracious house in Berlin as a hothouse for a week-long discussion. In Florence, Jason Nardi arranged for a lovely hillside retreat for us to work in while hosting us at several wonderful meals as well. Carlos Uriona and Matthew Glassman offered space and rich discussion at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts.

A small team of talented artists and designers were responsible for the beautiful appearance of this book and its illustrations. Two design students at Bozen University — Chiara Rovescala and Federica di Pietro, guided by their professors, Kris Krois and Lisa Borgenheimer — came up with some graphic illustrations of our early patterns. Some of those ideas later germinated and found richer development in the illustrations made by Mercè M. Tarrés, who gave the various patterns stunning, intuitive interpretations. The cover design, by Mireia Juan Cuco, conveys the spirit of our book with great elegance and energy as well. Overseeing the entire design work has been Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel of the Guerrilla Media Collective, which will also manage the forthcoming Spanish translation of Free, Fair, and Alive. Their steadfast, supportive presence has meant so much to us over the past several years!

Readers of this English edition of Free, Fair, and Alive may not be aware that a German translation was produced immediately as we com- pleted each chapter of the book. For this remarkable achievement, we thank our dedicated translator Sandra Lustig, whose painstaking transla- tion of our manuscript was quite an accomplishment in light of the many novel terms we invented. Insights derived from the translation often fed back into improvements in the English manuscript. (The German translation was published by transcript Verlag in spring 2019.)

Finding a publisher who understands the commons and is willing to walk the talk by using a Creative Commons license, is difficult. We feel lucky to have found transcript Verlag in Germany and New Society Publishers in British Columbia, Canada, each committed to greater access to knowledge in a challenging commercial context.

Finally, we each have debts to acknowledge to our loved ones.

Silke: Jacques, throughout the long marathon of this book, when diving into deep intellectual waters or exhausted by too many hours in front of my computer screen, you have always been there with patience and encouragement to get me back on track, as only you can. You have allowed me to watch what happens when a person discovers “the commoner in oneself.”

David: Thanks once again, dear Ellen, for your unstinting support during my many travels, research benders, and the prolonged writing marathon that was necessary to produce this book!

David Bollier, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA

Silke Helfrich, Neudenau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

January 2019

Acknowledgments

No book is a solitary achievement because it can only grow from within a rich network of friends and colleagues, benefactors, critics, advisors, test readers, research sources, and indulgent family members. In a sense, a virtual commons must arise. That’s what enabled the research, reflection, debate, writing, and revision that produced this book. One of the joys of finishing a book is saluting the many people who were indispensable in making it happen.

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) is clearly our closest, most enduring partner. The earliest commitment to exploring the com- mons came from Barbara Unmussig, president of hbs, and Heike Löschmann, then head of the Department of International Politics, in 2009. Both of them have been steadfast champions of the commons and our work. Since this book got underway in 2016, we have been blessed by the intense care and support of Joanna Barelkowska at hbs, who kept everything on track, including our spirits, and by Jörg Haas, the incoming head of the Department of International Politics, who has been a strong champion of this book.

David Bollier is grateful to Peter Buffett and Jennifer Buffett, co-presidents of the NoVo Foundation, for their stalwart support of work on the commons, including this book. He also wishes to thank Susan Witt, Director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, for her collegiality, advice, and enthusiastic commitment to reinventing the commons. Once again, David wishes to thank Norman Lear for his steadfast, inspirational role over many years in supporting his research and activism on the commons.

Silke Helfrich is deeply grateful to colleagues at the Institute of Advanced Studies on Sustainability (IASS) in Potsdam, for providing a caring, co-creative environment for several weeks in 2018. She especially wishes to thank the AMA team (A Mindset for the Anthropocene), Jessica Böhme, Man Fang, Carolin Fraude, Zachary Walsh, and ftomas Bruhn, who opened up a space to discuss how the commons might be at the center of creating a better mindset for the Anthropocene, and suggested improvements in the German version of the manuscript.

Because so much of our thinking about the commons strikes off in new directions, we have relied upon the insights and wisdom of a diverse array of test readers — practitioners, academics, activists, and others with a deep familiarity with various dimensions of commoning. ftree especially dedicated, conscientious readers — Joanna Barelkowska, Julia Petzold, and Wolfgang Sachs — read most of the manuscript in advance, rooting out errors and gently urging us to reconsider this thought and that wording. In similar ways, we also benefited from thoughtful comments by Saki Bailey, Adelheid Biesecker, Bruce Caron, Jonathan Dawson, Gustavo Esteva Figueroa, Sheila Foster, Claudia Gómez- Portugal M., Samar Hassan, Bob Jessop, Alexandros Kioupkiolis, Kris Krois, Miguel Martinez, Silvia Maria Díaz Molina, Janelle Orsi, Jorge Rath, David Rozas, Neera Singh, Johann Steudle, Orsan Senalp, Simon Sutterlütti, John Thackara, Stacco Troncoso, Carlos Uriona, Ann Marie Utratel, and Andreas Weber.

Because so much of the commons remains underexplored in the academic literature, we often turned to people with personal experi- ence in one or another specific topic, context, or commons. We are grateful to Laura Valentukeviciute and Katrin Kusche for sharing their knowledge on public-private partnerships and helping to imagine alternatives. Paula Segal’s personal tour of the Park Slope Food Coop, including its General Assembly, helped us understand that venture with greater insight. Dina Hestad shared with us many hard-won nug- gets of wisdom about transformational movements. We also learned a great deal about the messy realities and the solutions commoners come up with when interviewing Rainer Kippe on the SSM organization in Cologne; Peter Kolbe on Klimaschutz+; Amanda Huron, Sara Mewes, Johannes Euler, and Jochen Schmidt on housing commons; Siri and Oscar Kjellberg on Baskemölla Ekoby; Natalia-Rozalia Avlona on the Sarantoporo Community Network; Bettina Weber and Tom Hansing on Offene Werkstätten (Open Workshops); and Izabela Glowinska and Paul Adrian Schulz on Vivihouse.

On many occasions, our self-education about the commons was greatly advanced simply by being in the presence of active communities of practice. Ward Cunningham, Jon Richter, and the Federated Wiki community opened our eyes to the enormous possibilities of that tech platform. Similarly, Eric Harris-Braun, Ferananda Ibarra, and Jean Russell were patient and brilliant in explaining the Holochain protocols for commoning. Over the years, the Commons Strategies Group (of which we are cofounders) hosted a number of Deep Dive workshops that exposed us to some remarkable thinkers, activists, and fields of experimentation. We are grateful to Michel Bauwens for his invaluable collaboration and insights in these many discussions. A big thanks, too, to the dozens of participants in those gatherings for so freely sharing their knowledge and helping us think through vexing questions involving the commons.

The German Commons Summer School, and especially Heike Pourian, were among the first group of commoners to react to early versions of our patterns of commoning. They helped us confirm that we were on the right track, prodded us to clarify the field of inquiry for each pattern, and helped refine the names for many of our final patterns of commoning in German (especially Julia Petzold and Sandra Lustig). Needless to say, none of these people bear any responsibility for any errors or misinterpretations that may have crept into the text.

Because Silke lives in Germany and David in the US, we had to find creative ways to orchestrate in-person meetings to make sense of our research and develop our ideas. Fortunately, we had a number of gracious friends and colleagues who helped us find, or actually offered, wonderful spaces in which to work. At a critical stage in our thinking, Tilman Santarius and his family lent us their gracious house in Berlin as a hothouse for a week-long discussion. In Florence, Jason Nardi arranged for a lovely hillside retreat for us to work in while hosting us at several wonderful meals as well. Carlos Uriona and Matthew Glassman offered space and rich discussion at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts.

A small team of talented artists and designers were responsible for the beautiful appearance of this book and its illustrations. Two design students at Bozen University — Chiara Rovescala and Federica di Pietro, guided by their professors, Kris Krois and Lisa Borgenheimer — came up with some graphic illustrations of our early patterns. Some of those ideas later germinated and found richer development in the illustrations made by Mercè M. Tarrés, who gave the various patterns stunning, intuitive interpretations. The cover design, by Mireia Juan Cuco, conveys the spirit of our book with great elegance and energy as well. Overseeing the entire design work has been Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel of the Guerrilla Media Collective, which will also manage the forthcoming Spanish translation of Free, Fair, and Alive. Their steadfast, supportive presence has meant so much to us over the past several years!

Readers of this English edition of Free, Fair, and Alive may not be aware that a German translation was produced immediately as we com- pleted each chapter of the book. For this remarkable achievement, we thank our dedicated translator Sandra Lustig, whose painstaking transla- tion of our manuscript was quite an accomplishment in light of the many novel terms we invented. Insights derived from the translation often fed back into improvements in the English manuscript. (The German translation was published by transcript Verlag in spring 2019.)

Finding a publisher who understands the commons and is willing to walk the talk by using a Creative Commons license, is difficult. We feel lucky to have found transcript Verlag in Germany and New Society Publishers in British Columbia, Canada, each committed to greater access to knowledge in a challenging commercial context.

Finally, we each have debts to acknowledge to our loved ones.

Silke: Jacques, throughout the long marathon of this book, when diving into deep intellectual waters or exhausted by too many hours in front of my computer screen, you have always been there with patience and encouragement to get me back on track, as only you can. You have allowed me to watch what happens when a person discovers “the commoner in oneself.”

David: Thanks once again, dear Ellen, for your unstinting support during my many travels, research benders, and the prolonged writing marathon that was necessary to produce this book!

David Bollier, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA

Silke Helfrich, Neudenau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

January 2019

Appendix A: Notes on the Methodology for Identifying Patterns of Commoning

We have been conducting research on commons for years outside the confines of academia, so in this section, we will out-line how we developed our framework — the Triad of Commoning.1 You will recall that our purpose is not to define commons. That would not do justice to the topic or our concept of research. Because commons are living systems, they are not fixed entities that can simply be nailed down. Our purpose therefore has been to describe more pre- cisely the dynamics of commons as a specific kind of behavior, and a way to satisfy needs and shape one’s surroundings and society. We did so by tracking down the recurring basic features that characterize behaviors in different commons. In other words, we posed the question whether logics of action exist that are typical of commoning.

The starting point is the idea that the order of the world is reflected in patterns, a philosophical and empirical concept developed by mathema- tician, architect, and philosopher Christopher Alexander in his famous pattern theory and methodology. These ideas are described in detail in his four-volume work The Nature of Order.2 We applied the patterns approach to commons in our 2015 anthology Patterns of Commoning.3 Patterns are identified, not invented. Identifying them is meant to make something latent visible. This is an important insight from patterns research. Pattern-mining requires patient observation, prac- tice, and a combination of various steps. Methodologically, when attempting to make living processes comprehensible, one must not sep- arate rationality from emotion or cognitive insights based on concrete experiences.4 Patterning avoids these problems by assessing phenomena holistically. It recognizes that pure abstraction does not do justice to the rich complexity of life. Patterning is valuable, too, because it is capable of taking full measure of a layperson’s tacit knowledge, which is often patronized or ignored by “experts.”5 In developing the patterns of commoning, therefore, we could Trust Situated Knowledge.

Patterning requires focusing on connections, on what things have in common, rather than focusing on differences. In the process of doing this, a phenomenon or problem is not viewed as delimited or isolated; instead, it acquires its meaning only when viewed in its full context. Accordingly, a pattern applies only in a given context or in similar circumstances. There is no such thing as a context-free pattern.6 In pat- terns of social phenomena, the purpose is to identify which behaviors (or, in more abstract terms, “logics of action”) can help interactions succeed and strengthen relationships. Since relationships are multi- directional — i.e., they can have both positive effects on one aspect of a situation and negative effects on another — formal notation of patterns requires specifying related patterns. This makes the linkages between the patterns clearer, but we decided against using formal pat- tern notation in this book; we can only hint at those formalities. In any case, readers can easily imagine how various individual patterns are connected to other ones. In all their connections, they form a (yet-to- be-formulated) pattern language.

At the epistemological level, a pattern language approach ensures that the spirit and the body remain connected as tools of cognition. In the process of coining a pattern name, as we come to understand con- cepts, deliberately and through language — as we perceive what has been obscure but not yet put into words — we simultaneously experi- ence moments of resonance in our bodies.7 We experience resonance when a special energy emerges and we reflexively nod our heads in recognition of the congruence between experiencing, sensing, and dis- cerning. When enough interviewees, workshop participants, readers, and other people experience this same resonance upon hearing a pat- tern, and their reactions align with each other, so to speak, we can feel confident that a high-quality pattern has been formulated. And still, the resulting pattern is in principle open and adaptable, if only because living systems are always changing and evolving. (See the section on validation below.) No pattern is a “once and forever” truth.

Beyond general pattern-mining methodology, we should address the methods used to construct the Triad of Commoning. They too can be presented only very briefly. Between June 2014 and December 2017, a total of nine pattern-mining workshops were held with partici- pants of ages twenty to seventy, from a variety of contexts and cultures.

The workshops themselves were structured to introduce participants to the logic of the pattern approach by inviting them to ask, for each pattern:

  • What is the context?
  • What exactly, in this context, is the essence of a recurring problem?
  • What solutions exist for this problem?
  • What is the common essence of successful solutions?
  • How can this common essence be put into words to form a pattern name?

A strong pattern name (in terms of accurately describing a pattern of social practices) is first of all short and succinct. It is free of punc- tuation, may use easy-to-understand abbreviations (such as FAQ, for example) and neologisms, relies on a verb to emphasize the process (or practice), and avoids vague clichés. A good pattern name is adaptable, too, meaning that it can be changed later. So exceptions from these naming criteria are commonplace.

In addition to the workshops, twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with one to four people at a time. Most of these were university graduates who have been active in commons projects for a long time — some for fifty years. Two interviews were particularly extensive. As in the workshops, the purpose was to find out to what extent various practices are present in different patterns when they are used to address similar problems and whether common patterns of behavior can be discerned in successful solutions. The setting and character of the interviews as well as the kinds of questions asked are described in detail in Silke Helfrich’s masters thesis (see note 1). Interviewees were asked what was actually done in the commons projects, not what they were thinking. After all, the purpose was to identify and document descriptions of actions, not gather opinions. The interviews were structured in advance by the three areas of our pattern-mining — social life, peer-governance, and provisioning (Chapters 4-6). Questions focused on typical problems within these areas, and were refined with each iteration. When we began to test the patterns already identified, we also asked interviewees whether the patterns felt right (resonance test).

Interview Questions

Since the purpose was to ask about behavior, not attitudes, it was important to avoid asking simple yes-no questions as well as ques- tions that would force respondents to rationalize behaviors.8 Most of the questions concerned how things were done. Questions sought to narrow down the problem area, to be as concrete as possible, and not use leading questions to suggest any particular answers. The questions referred to often-observed problems arising in social interactions in a commons context. The questions about peer governance were derived from the eight design principles developed by Elinor Ostrom as well as our own observations. When we developed the questions concerning commons provisioning, our starting point was the basic elements required for any creative/productive process (e.g., natural resources, knowledge, information, human activities, labor, etc.).

 

Questions About Social Interactions

  • How do you succeed in finding a shared purpose? What is the role of values?
  • How do you obtain the necessary contributions?
  • How do you shape the relationship between giving and taking?
  • How do you maintain quality in social relations? Do certain cus- toms, practices, and conventions exist?
  • What kinds of knowledge do you rely upon?
  • How do you live your relationship to nature?
  • How do you deal with conflicts?
  • ftrough which mechanisms do rules and structures remain appro- priate and adaptable?

 

Questions Concerning Governance

  • How do you negotiate the tension between the pressure to exploit all kinds of resources commercially on the one hand and commoning on the other? How do you protect commons from being entirely governed or directed by money?
  • How do you bring together purposes and values?
  • Do you set boundaries? How permeable are they?
  • How are your decisions made?
  • How do you handle information, knowledge, code, and design?
  • How are your organizational structures structured? Do they provide protection from abuse of power?
  • How is your property governed?
  • How do you enable that your actions are transparent?
  • Which forms of finance do you use? Are they themselves expressions of commoning? Do flows of money strengthen commons?
  • How do you monitor that rules are observed?
  • How do you deal with violations of rules?

Questions Concerning Commons Production

  • Who bears the production risk?
  • Is there a separation between producers and users? How are the roles defined and fulfilled?
  • How is that which is available allocated?
    • Referring to things that increase as more people use them (e.g., knowledge, software)?
    • Referring to things that are used up as more people use them (e.g., land, food, money)?
  • How is that which is available allocated?
    • In a social context that is usually interpersonal and in which it is easy to get an overview of the situation?
    • In an anonymous, transpersonal context in which it is difficult to get an overview of the situation?
  • Who determines the price, and on which basis, in market-like transactions?
  • How do you conceive of your work? How do you allocate tasks, and how do you value and appreciate all activities?
  • Who benefits from your tools and instruments? What purposes do they serve?
  • Which of the existing infrastructures do you use, and why? Do they serve your purposes?
  • How do you create new material and immaterial things?

 

Drawing on these interviews, on our prior knowledge, commons literature, and the workshops, we began to “verbalize” — to find appropriate pattern names. After that, the feedback process began. Even though this process was somewhat different for each of the generic patterns that we developed,9 there were at least six systematic rounds for each pattern. We consulted with people with different qual- ifications — from a sustainability scholar to a student working with patterns, and from an educator who herself is a driving force behind a commons community to participants in the sixth German-language Commons Summer School. The two of us also discussed the pattern names ourselves time and time again. Each round surfaced ideas about needed corrections, shifts, additions, and deletions, leading to a large number of adaptations. We believe that these iterations as well as the combination of methods have yielded robust results.

Below is an example of the typical proceeding. We wish to make clear how we combined the methods, which was somewhat different in each case, depending on the number and type of critical decision situations. To illustrate our process of work, we have selected the pat- tern Bring Diversity into Shared Purpose, which is in the sphere of Peer Governance. It is not only illustrative of the many iterations each pattern went through, it also points to the relative importance of common values, which many people might assume that commoners must share in advance of commoning. When we began to probe this topic, we were interested in the role that common goals and values actually play in successful commons, as opposed to the scenario of diverse people growing together to share outlooks (which raises ques- tions about how this is achieved).

Brief Description of the Steps.

This description reconstructs the research process used to coin the pattern name in German. It was similar but not the same as the English- language versions. You will therefore find the German pattern names in several iterations along with their respective English translations. The starting point for the German and the English process, however, was the same. We, as authors, deduced that the pattern would be:

GEMEINSAMEN ZWECK & GEMEINSAME WERTE ERKLÄREN |

DECLARE SHARED PURPOSE & VALUES

and then we went on for several rounds of testing, correction, and adaptation.

 

  1. Describe the problem: Identifying the roles of common purposes and
  2. Derive a pattern name (first iteration, in this case by deduction). The goal is for the name to express that common purposes and values should be clear when people common:

DECLARE SHARED PURPOSE & VALUES

  1. Embed the pattern name in the context; give reasons for it, using examples in order to bring to mind its practical relevance; prepare a textual description and send it to experts (test readers) and inter- Be alert to any dissonant feedback among participants in the process, and look for consensus about the pattern name.
  2. Conduct semi-structured telephone interview with a social scientist and commons practitioner, George E. on December 4, 2017. When a conflict arises in the experience of the interviewee, common pur- poses and values cannot be presupposed. Also, for common action to work, it is not decisive that such purposes exist or are It is a social fact that any commons has to deal with a diversity of per- spectives and values. People may share motivations and reasons for coming together, but we cannot presume any long-term shared pur- poses and values. As the interviewee put it: “We may assume specific short-term goals or purposes. For example, collecting signatures for a petition […] before the second week of February. But these ‘goals’ or ‘purposes’ are not ends in themselves. We have motives, compel- ling forces pushing us in a certain direction that we can express those ‘motives’ as reasons. Instead of asking ‘What for?’ we ask ‘Why?’”
  3. Authors jointly reflect to derive the pattern name (a second iteration) Vielfalt für Commons-Zwecke aufgreifen

BRING DIVERSITY INTO SHARED PURPOSE

  1. Discuss with an expert and reflect on the wording (a third iteration of pattern name).

VIELFALT ZU COMMONS-ZWECKEN NUTZEN
USING DIVERSITY FOR COMMONS PURPOSES

  1. Discuss with another expert (June 15, 2018) and resonance

A conflict arises. This version of the pattern name “doesn’t feel right” or doesn’t get to the heart of what needs to be expressed (a fourth iteration of pattern name).

VIELFALT ZUM GEMEINSAMEN VERWEBEN
INTERWEAVE DIVERSITY TO FORM WHAT IS COMMON

  1. Review of all pattern names by an expert/social scientist (March 26, 2018)

There is feedback on other patterns, but not this one. However, step 7 points to the fact that another round of review is needed.

  1. Collective reflection by participants in the summer school, late June 2018, about resonance of the pattern Group discussion with practitioners and theoreticians; inductive elements are strengthened (fifth iteration of pattern name).

SICH IN VIELFALT GEMEINSAM AUSRICHTEN BRING
DIVERSITY INTO SHARED PURPOSE

This fifth version of the pattern name corresponds to the knowledge and experiences brought forward in the various steps and feedback loops and feels right. The pattern name is published (cf. Chapter 5).

The processes for identifying patterns were similar in all cases. The steps and the procedures for gaining insight are shown once again in the following diagram. Let us review the procedure for the pattern Bring Diversity into Shared Purpose as an example:

 

Validation and Procedure for Deriving the Pattern

When people identify patterns through this process, they usually assess the accuracy and validity of the pattern name subjectively since “some are more true, more profound, more certain than others,” according to Christopher Alexander and his colleagues.11 They sought to identify the “more true” patterns by assigning two, one, or no asterisks to each pattern, indicating a ranking of likely success in identifying whether a solution names “a true invariant.” Using this process, we undertook an assessment of the pattern names identified in Chapters 4–6. You will find the result in the next table. In the case of a pattern name without an asterisk (see first column), we believe that we found something that, as Alexander put it, “summarizes a property common to all possible ways of solving the stated problem.” That means it is basically impossible to solve the stated problem properly without “shaping the environ- ment in one way” or another according to the respective pattern (ibid., emphasis in the original).

In the case of patterns with only one asterisk, we assume, with Alexander, “that we have made some progress towards identifying such an invariant: but that with careful work it will certainly be possible to improve on the solution.” (ibid., xiv). Patterns with two asterisks signify that further examination is recommended in order to improve the pattern. The second column indicates most important procedures for deriving the patterns as well as the abstract concepts from which the patterns were deduced (in those cases where deduction was the primary methodology).

 

The Research Process

Finally, a flow chart shows the decisions that had to be made during the research process. It begins with the identification of a recur- ring problem in a commons context and ends with an evaluation as described just above. This flowchart was prepared, once more, for the example Bring Diversity into Shared Purpose, yet its approach applies to all patterns.

Each step was documented promptly and in various forms: as com- plete documentation of workshop discussions, individual documentation of workshop results including formal notation of the patterns, documentation of the interviews (on file with the authors), and notes from workshops, expert discussions, and editorial discussions.

From an Understanding of Being to Methods

As we can see from this explanation, the entire procedure of pattern mining has a theoretical foundation that incorporates and reflects a relational and procedural ontology. The methodology therefore takes into account a phenomenon’s relationship to its context and its concrete existence in actual lifeworlds. The methodology is also open ended and adaptable, thereby enabling individual and collective self-reflection about its accuracy and further revision.

  • Onto-Epistemology: Differentiated relational processes, evolutionary epistemology of living, generative processes
  • Theories: Commons / pattern theory
  • Methodology: pattern mining / methodological holism
  • Methods: patterns workshops, semistructured interviews, peer review, “resonance test,” conversations with experts, collective reflection
  • Results: Patterns of Commoning

This methodology also suggests that patterns are not like Lego bricks that fit together only in predetermined ways. The ways to combine individual elements into successful solutions are not prestructured. That is why creative combinations of ideas can bring about new results that were not part of the individual solutions.

On Working with Patterns

The process of coining patterns enables one to discern order in the diversity of commoning processes, thus identifying the essential dynamics of commoning. It also provides a shared vocabulary and methodology, thereby enabling commoners to create that order. This is why linking patterns and commons is so fruitful for researchers and others in advancing both theory and practice. Practitioners can use patterns to:

  • find a vocabulary and philosophical rationale for the collaborations they have been doing all along
  • structure processes of self-reflection and identify their own strengths and weaknesses
  • take up good ideas and use them to solve their own problems — in other words, apply patterns in a form adapted to their own context
  • develop specific patterns tailored to their own context

 

Researchers can also use patterns to:

  • review and then further develop them, in order to contribute to the conceptualization of commoning
  • design interviews and research questions for research in the field
  • apply all generic patterns together as a research

The result can enable researchers to identify and analyze social, institutional, and economic processes in a concrete context from a commons perspective, similar to the way in which Elinor Ostrom’s design principles have been used to compare institutional rules.

Silke Helfrich

Neudenau, February 4, 2019

Appendix B: Visual Grammar for the Pattern Illustrations

Visual Grammar

  • Each illustration contains two layers of information.
  • The first layer is the sphere around which the dots and squares move,
    representing the context of commoning.
  • The dynamic layer contains the dots and squares that wrap around
    or move through the sphere, representing the subject/agent and
    predicate/action.

Layer 1: Sphere

Action takes place inside, between, and around one or more semitrans- parent spheres.

Visual Grammar / Layer 1: SphereOur sphere is the commons, shaped and represented by a dynamic texture of dots and squares: a diversity of realities, commoners par- ticipating in interdependent relationships with the world outside the commons.

Commons

  • “They are COMPLEX, ADAPTIVE, LIVING PROCESSES that gen- erate wealth and meet people’s needs.”
  • In contrast, the capitalist system (or its elements) is represented by squares without hue, gradient or texture.

Visual Grammar / Commons


Commoning

Visual Grammar / Commoning - Inside / Outside

Inside

  • People devising and enacting situation- specific systems of PROVISIONING and PEER GOVERNANCE
  • Within a single commons
  • Local

Outside

  • People, things, or ideas inter- acting with the outside (e.g., the market system)
  • Among various commons
  • Global / network / federation

The sphere and the dot are abstract representations of the individual and the commons. Both are dynamic (non-static) and represented as circular. Both exist in (relational) singularity and plurality.

’I am because we are and, since we are, therefore I am.’
The individual is part of a ‘we’ — and in fact, of many ‘we’s’. The two are deeply intertwined.”

FREE, FAIR & ALIVE — Visual Grammar / Layer 1: Commoning


Layer 2: Dots and Squares, Flows and Areas

Commoners

“An identity and social role that people acquire as they practice COMMONING.”

Communion

“The process through which COMMONERS participate in interdepen- dent relationships with the more than human world.”

Visual Grammar / Layer2: Communion - Individuals / Commoners


Dots and squares come together as flows and areas, suggesting spaces inside and outside the spheres.

Visual Grammar / Layer2


Flows of dots and squares represent connections, relations, directions, concrete actions, and spaces. Flows diffuse into wider areas.

Visual Grammar / Layer2

Areas of dots and squares wrap around or move through the sphere, creating dynamic shapes.


Visual Grammar — Size = diverse realities

Size = diverse realities

The size of the elements expresses different realities. Dots and squares, flows and areas behave in different manners.

Visual Grammar — Density = power

Density = power

Density is achieved by increasing the volume of the elements, overlap- ping and reducing the space between them.

Visual Grammar — Movement/shift = aliveness

Movement/shift = aliveness

“Comets” = direction. Direction is achieved through flows of dots pro- gressively decreasing in size. The “head” of the “comet” is formed by larger dots and higher density.

Visual Grammar — Organic vs. ordered configurations = Free vs. ruled activities/relations

Organic vs. ordered configurations = Free vs. ruled activities/relations


All of these elements graphically depict relational dynamics.

“Since each is constantly evolving and affected by multiple influences, the world has no singular definition or representation … It [is] a pluriverse — a diversity of living, dynamic social organisms that are conjoined by our common humanity and interdependence on other life-forms and the Earth.”


Visual Grammar — Relational Dynamics

***

Types of relational dynamics expressed by patterns and their graphic
translation

Visual Grammar — Relational Dynamics

Convergent dynamics are expressed through spiral configurations.

Visual Grammar — Relational Dynamics

Analysis/reflection dynamics are expressed through concentric circles/ eye configurations.

Visual Grammar — Relational Dynamics

Making together and provisioning dynamics are expressed through braided configurations.

Visual Grammar — Relational Dynamics

Sharing/dividing-up dynamics are expressed through wave configura- tions.

Visual Grammar — Relational Dynamics

Dynamics related to love (trust, care …) are expressed through concave configurations (as a nesting/nurturing reference).

 

 


Mercè M. Tarrés, from an initial graphic proposal suggested by Frederica
Di Pietri and Chiara Rovescala
Barcelona, Spain January 2019
N.B. All images © Mercè M. Tarrés, 2019, licensed under a Peer Production License (https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Peer_Production_ License).

Appendix C: Commons and Commoning Tools Mentioned in This Book

Acequias (Mexico, American Southwest). Community-based water irrigation systems in Mexico, New Mexico, and Colorado. pp. 105 and 194.

Artabana (Switzerland, Germany, Austria). A federation of community-based health insurance projects that is a kind of commons-public partnership. pp. 160–161.

Atelier Paysan (France, worldwide). A French-language group of engineers, farmers, and others who build convivial tools and open source machinery for small-scale farming. p. 176.

Bangla Pesa (Kenya). A neighborhood-owned and -controlled currency in Kenya, part of the larger Sarafu Credit system. p. 161

Bisses du Valais (Switzerland). A centuries-old network of canals in the Swiss Alps, managed as a commons, which brings water from the mountains to farmers’ fields. p. 128.

Buurtzorg (Netherlands and worldwide). A peer-run organization that provides nursing homecare in a neighborhood scale. p. 20–21.

Cecosesola (Venezuela). An “omni-commons” federation of about thirty urban and rural cooperatives in the state of Lara, providing food, care, transportation, and communal burial services to hundreds of thousands of people. pp. 185–187.

Charters for Commoning. Documents created by people to constitute a commons by setting forth core goals, practices, and principles that will guide the group. pp. 319–323.

CoBudget (internet). A collaborative platform by which members of a group can keep track of a shared budget and allocate funds among proposals made. p. 129.

Commons-public partnerships. Agreements initiated by commoners in cooperation with state bodies to work together on specific problems over the long term. pp. 333–344.

Community currencies (worldwide). The Bangla Pesa and Lida Pesa, two neighborhood currencies in Kenya, are among six thousand alter- native currencies worldwide. p. 161.

Community Land Trust (USA, Canada). An organizational form that allows a trust to acquire land and take it off the market in perpetuity, thereby reducing the costs of housing and small enterprises. p. 159.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) (worldwide). A form of collective farming in which families share the risks of production with farmers by buying shares of the harvest at the beginning of the growing season. pp. 22–24. See also Solidarische Landwirtschaft (Germany), p. 202, and Teikei, p. 23.

Community Supported Industry. An expansion of the CSA model that aims to strengthen regional economics by replacing imported goods with ones produced by local businesses that provide living wages and employ sustainable manufacturing processes. p. 23.

Cosmo-local Production Projects (worldwide). Collaborative efforts based on open source philosophy that share designs and knowledge globally and produce locally. Examples: Open Desk, p. 176, Open Building Institute, p. 196, Open SPIM, p. 196; Wikispeed, p. 197.

Creative Commons Licenses (worldwide). A suite of no-cost licenses that copyright holders may use to make their creative works and informa- tion legally available for copying, sharing, and re-use at no cost. p. 259. Crowdfunding. A popular form of collaborative financing of com- mons projects, as in Goteo. pp. 159–160.

Data Commons for a Free, Fair, and Sustainable World. A commons charter for programmers dedicated to building shareable mapping databases. p. 320.

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) (worldwide). A col- laborative project for needs-based drug research and development that works with governments, research institutes, and communities affected by disease. pp. 341–343.

EnCommuns (France). A commons-based network of database pro- grammers. pp. 164–165.

Enspiral (New Zealand and worldwide). A networked guild of hun- dreds of social entrepreneurs and activists that has built open source platforms such as Loomio and CoBudget, and experiments with new forms of peer governance. pp. 105 and 129.

Fab Labs (worldwide). Open workshops in which scientists, engineers, digital artists, and amateurs use computer tools to experiment and pro- duce prototype processes and machines. pp. 168–169.

Federated Wiki (internet). A network of creators whose content on personal wikis can be easily and legally shared with other federated wiki users, avoiding the editorial and interpersonal problems of curating centralized wikis. pp. 246–252.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS). Software that can be freely shared, copied, and modified because of licenses such as the GPL (see below). “Free/Libre” does not refer to price but to a philosophical commitment to freedom. “Open source” is focused on practical bene- fits. pp. 80 and 258–259.

Freifunk (Germany). A network of free Wi-Fi access points in over four hundred communities. p. 311.

General Public License (GPL). A standard license that the copyright holders of software programs can use to authorize the sharing, copying, and modification of their programs. pp. 258–259.

GNU/Linus (internet). The computer operating system developed by a commons of programmers associated with Linux Torvalds’ adaptation of Unix and free software pioneer Richard Stallman’s GNU programs. pp. 80 and 90.

Goteo (Spain, Europe, and Latin America). A crowdfunding platform dedicated to the commons that has raised more than 7.3 million euros for more than 900 commons projects (2018). pp. 159–160.

Guerrilla Media Collective (worldwide). A socially minded group of translators, designers, and media workers. p. 165.

guifi.net (Catalonia). A commons-based Wifi infrastructure providing internet access to tens of thousands of people. pp. 24–25.

Hackerspaces (worldwide). Physical spaces in which hackers of all types meet, co-learn, and work together on various projects as a loose peer-organized network. p. 304.

Haenyeo (South Korea). An integenerational community of women divers who combine diving skills, spiritual traditions, and community commitment in harvesting shellfish off the island of Jeju. p. 128.

Helsinki Timeback (Finland). A timebank that enables more than three thousand members to exchange their skills and services. p. 2.

Iriaiken (Japan). A traditional philosophy (iriai) and practice of commoning in Japan that refers to collective ownership of nonarable areas such as mountains, forests, marshes, and offshore fisheries. pp. 266–273.

King of the Meadows (Netherlands and adjacent countries). A Dutch commons project to steward biodiversity connected with cultural her- itage. p. 308.

Lake District (Scotland/UK). A commons of grazing rights for sheep that relies on high plots of grassland shared by many farmers. p. 147. Lida Pesa (Kenya). A neighborhood-owned and -controlled currency in Kenya, part of the larger Sarafu Credit system. p. 161.

Loomio (internet). A software platform designed by the Enspiral community to facilitate online deliberation and decision-making. pp. 138–139.

Mietshäuser Syndikat (Germany and Austria). A federation of around 140 rental housing buildings that have been removed from the real estate market, each of which is permanently affordable and peer-man- aged. pp. 252–257.

Minga (Andean countries). Well-organized mobilizations of friends and neighbors to tackle shared challenges such as harvesting food or fixing a road. p. 270.

Movimento Sem Terra, Brazilian Landless Rural Worker Movement (MST) (Brazil). A movement to redistribute land to rural workers for small-scale farming, which has created occupied land settlements for hundreds of thousands of families. p. 150.

NextCloud (Internet). A global open space community of program- mers developing shareable file hosting software. pp. 157–158.

Nidiaci Community Garden (Italy). A neighborhood-managed garden and playground in the heart of downtown Florence. pp. 207–209.

Oberallmeindkorporationen (Switzerland). Independent corpora- tions authorized by Swiss cantonal law for over 1,100 years to govern common lands; similar to the Iriaiken in Japan. p. 223.

Obştea (Romania). Traditional community-owned and -managed for- ests. p. 223.

Open Commons Linz (Austria). A project that provides free Wi-Fi hotspots, a “municipal cloud” available to all citizens, open data produced by government agencies, among other digital provisions. p. 311.

Open Educational Resources (OER). Books, essays, curricula, syl- labi, lesson plans, datasets, and other materials that can be freely used, shared, and modified. p. 202.

Open Prosthetics Project (USA). A network of users, designers, and funders dedicated to making public domain prosthetics available to anyone. p. 176.

Open Source Ecology (USA, worldwide). A global community of farmers designing and building non-proprietary, modular, and locally sourceable farm equipment using open source principles. p. 196.

Open Source Seed Initiative (USA, worldwide). A community of farmers and seed breeders committed to sharing seeds and derivative improvements as alternatives to proprietary seed. p. 265.

Open Source Seed License (Germany, Switzerland, international). A license that grants seed users the right to share breeding improvements if made available for public use and if follow-on users are required to do the same. p. 264.

OpenSPIM. An open source collaboration among scientists and engi- neers in building Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM), a specialized technology used in biological research. p. 196.

Park Slope Food Coop (Brooklyn, New York). A large food cooper- ative started in 1973 that relies on unpaid, decommodified labor as a way to Pool & Share the benefits of a supermarket to more than 17,000 members. p. 238–241.

Peer Production License. A license that grants free use of licensed material to anyone belonging to the commons, except commercial users, who must pay. p. 402 #16.

Permaculture (worldwide). A integrated set of design principles for agri- cultural practices that reflect the holistic dynamics of ecosystems. p. 319. Potato Park (Peru). A sociolegal stewardship system for the biodi- versity of potatoes in lands north of Cusco, overseen by Indigenous Quechua people. p. 309.

Public Library of Science (Internet). A series of high-quality, peer reviewed open access journals on a variety of scientific topics, each available under Creative Commons licenses for free. p. 188.

Sarafu Credit System (Kenya). A network of neighborhood currencies in Kenya. p. 161. See also Bangla Pesa, Lida Pesa.

Sociocracy. A system of peer governance that seeks to secure maximum participation and transparency in group deliberation and decision making, chiefly by seeking consent, not consensus, for group deci- sions. pp. 140–141.

Sozialistische Selbsthilfe Mühlheim (SSM) (Germany). A self-or- ganized work and residential project dedicated to dignifying life for everyone, including the unskilled and mentally ill. p. 348.

Subak (Bali). An effective peasant-run system of irrigation for rice crops that synchronizes social and religious practices with planting and harvesting times. p. 137.

Teikei (Japan). The system of community-supported agriculture in Japan. p. 23.

Terre de Liens (France). An organization that buys arable land to take it off the market permanently, hold it in trust, and make it available to farmers. p. 160.

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (India, internet). A database assembled to document traditional medicinal knowledge and thereby thwart inappropriate international patents. p. 261.

Transition Town Movement (worldwide). A movement of pragmati- cally minded people seeking to build more resilient local provisioning systems in anticipation of the problems that Peak Oil and climate breakdown will bring. pp. 109 and 193.

Unitierra, or Universidad de la Tierra en Oaxaca (Mexico). A de-institutionalized university created by commons for commoners. pp. 126–127.

Water management commons (Zimbabwe). A cooperative water system in the Nkayi District in western Zimbabwe. p. 147.

Wikihouse (UK, worldwide). A community of architects, designers, and others who share designs for houses and the means to build them, with the help of eleven chapters around the world. p. 21–22.

Wikipedia (internet). The collaborative web encyclopedia that has about 72,000 active contributors working on more than 48 million articles in 302 languages. p. 246.

Wikispeed (internet, distributed locations). The global community of engineers designing open source motor vehicles such as racing cars, taxicabs, and mail delivery vehicles. p. 197.

Zanjeras (Philippines). A system of commons-based irrigation that uses social means to assure fair allocations of water and respect for community rules. p. 147.

 

Readers can find additional profiles of commons in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, at www.patternsofcommoning.org.

Appendix D: Elinor Ostrom’s Eight Design Principles for Successful Commons

The late Professor Elinor Ostrom identified eight key design principles for successful commons, which she set forth in her book, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (1990).

 

1. Clearly defined boundaries

Individuals or households who have rights to withdraw resource units from the common-pool resource (CPR) must be clearly defined, as must the boundaries of the CPR itself.

 

2. Congruence between appropriation and provision rules and local conditions

Appropriation rules restricting time, place, technology, and/or quan- tity of resource units are related to local conditions and to provision rules requiring labor, material, and/or money.

 

3. Collective-choice arrangements

Most individuals affected by the operational rules can participate in modifying the operational rules.

 

4. Monitoring

Monitors, who actively audit CPR conditions and appropri- ator behavior, are accountable to the appropriators or are the appropriators.

 

5. Graduated sanctions

Appropriators who violate operational rules are likely to be assessed graduated sanctions (depending on the seriousness and context of the offense) by other appropriators, by officials accountable to these appropriators, or both.

 

6. Conflict resolution mechanisms.

Appropriators and their officials have rapid access to low-cost local arenas to resolve conflicts among appropriators or between appro- priators and officials.

 

7. Minimal recognition of rights to organize

The rights of appropriators to devise their own institutions are not challenged by external governmental authorities.

 

For CPRs that are parts of larger systems:

8. Nested enterprises

Appropriation, provision, monitoring, enforcement, conflict reso- lution and governance activities, are organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises.

Notes

Introduction

  1. George Monbiot, “Don’t Let the Rich Get Even Richer on the Assets We All Share,” The Guardian, September 27, theguardian.com/ commentisfree/2017/sep/27/rich-assets-resources-prosperity-commons- george-monbiot

Chapter 1

  1. Michael Tomasello, Why We Cooperate, MIT Press, 2009, p.4. See also Tomasello lectures, “What Makes Us Human?” youtube.com/ watch?v=9vuI34zyjqU and “What Makes Human Beings Unique?” com/watch?v=RQiINQiAn4o
  2. Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, The Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution, Princeton University Press, 2011. Another useful book on social cooperation is Richard Sennett’s Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation, Yale University Press,
  3. Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the ” Science vol. 162, no. 3859, December 1968, pp. 1243–5.
  4. Lewis Hyde, Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010, p.
  5. Michael Kimmelman, “Refugee Camp for Syrians in Jordan Evolves as a Do-It-Yourself City,” New York Times, July 4, nytimes.com/ 2014/07/05/world/middleeast/zaatari-refugee-camp-in-jordan-evolves- as-a-do-it-yourself-city.html
  6. buurtzorg.com
  7. Ernst & Young, “Business Case, Buurtzorg Nederland,” 2009. transitie nl/files/maatschappelijke%20business%20case%20buurtzorg. pdf
  8. “Home Care by Self-Governing Nursing Teams: The Netherlands’ Buurtzorg Model,” The Commonwealth Fund, May 29, commonwealthfund.org/publications/case-studies/2015/may/home-care- nursing-teams-netherlands
  9. A good overview of literature assessing Buurtzorg can be found in Harri Kaloudis, “A First Attempt at a Systematic Overview of the Public Record in English on Buurtzorg Nederland (Part A – Buurtzorg’s Performance,” August 25, 2016. medium.com/@Harri_Kaloudis/a-first- attempt-at-a-systematic-overview-of-the-public-record-on-buurtzorg- nederland-part-a-ff92e06e673d
  10. See KPMG International “Value walks: Successful habits for improving workforce motivation and productivity,” publicworld.co.uk/wp- content/uploads/2015/10/kpmg-buurtzorg.pdf
  11. nl/files/maatschappelijke%20business%20case%20 buurtzorg.pdf
  12. Alastair Parvin, “Architecture for the People by the People,” TED Talk, May 23, 2013. com/watch?v=Mlt6kaNjoeI
  13. Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality, Harper & Row, 1973, 23.
  14. wikipedia.org/wiki/Teikei
  15. Dan Gillmor, “Forget Here’s the DIY Approach to Internet Access,” Wired, July 20, 2016. wired.com/2016/07/forget-comcast-heres- the-diy-approach-to-internet-access
  16. Ibid
  17. Andreas Weber, Enlivenment: Towards a Fundamental Shift in the Concepts of Nature, Culture and Politics, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2013. boell.de/en/2013/02/01/enlivenment-towards- fundamental-shift-concepts-nature-culture-and-politics
  18. Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Books 1–4, Center for Environmental Structure, 2002-2012.

 

Chapter 2

  1. Nancy Pick, Curious Footprints: Professor Hitchcock’s Dinosaur Tracks & Other Natural History Treasures at Amherst College, Amherst College Press, 2006, 2.
  2. This quotation is often attributed to Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes, , but also to others: quoteinvestigator.com/2012/04/13/taxes-civilize
  3. Thurman Arnold, The Folklore of Capitalism, Yale University Press, 1937, 118.
  4. See, e.g., Elisabeth Wehling: Politisches Framing. Wie eine Nation sich ihr Denken einredet — und daraus Politik macht, Köln, 2016, 191: Frames haben einen ideologisch selektiven Charakter. See also George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, University of Chicago Press, 2002, and Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.
  5. John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Reprint edition, Prometheus Books, 1997, p. viii.
  6. P. ftompson, Customs in Common, Penguin Books, 1993, p. 159.
  7. Uskali Mäki, The Economic World View: Studies in the Ontology of Economics, Cambridge University Press, 2001).
  8. Margaret Stout, “Competing Ontologies: A Primer for Public Administration,” Public Administration Review, 72(3), May/June 2012, 388–398.
  9. Feminist political theorists such as Carole Pateman, in her book The Sexual Contract (1988), have noted that the very idea of a social contract reflects patriarchal norms, such as the individual as autonomous, the supposed equality of everyone to bargain for a fair contract, the very idea of a contract as advancing freedom, and the supposed separateness and inferiority of the private
  10. An excellent summary of the evolution of Western scientific and legal thought, and the implications of these for the commons, can be found in Fritjof Capra and Ugo Mattei, The Ecology of Law: Toward a Legal System in Tune with Nature and Community, Berrett-Koehler, 2015.
  11. Carl Schmitt in Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty, MIT Press, 1921/1985, 36: “All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts, not only because of their historical development, in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent God became the omnipotent law-giver, but also because of their systematic structure.” See medium.com/@csreader/ sovereignty-and-the-miracle-ce4a4259c207
  12. Stout, “Competing Ontologies,” p. 393.
  13. James Buchanan, The Economics and the Ethics of Constitutional Order, University of Michigan Press, 1991, p. 14.
  14. Andreas Karitzis, “The Decline of Liberal Politics,” in Anna Grear and David Bollier, editors, The Great Awakening, Punctum Press,
  15. Arturo Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds, Duke University Press,
  16. Stout, “Competing Ontologies,” p.
  17. Sam Lavigne, “Taxonomy of Humans According to Twitter,” The New Inquiry, July 7, 2017. thenewinquiry.com/taxonomy-of-humans- according-to-twitter
  18. Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Crown,
  19. Brian Massumi, Ontopower: War, Powers and the State of Perception, Duke University Press,
  20. Anne Salmond, “The Fountain of Fish: Ontological Collisions at Sea,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, Off the Commons Books, 2015, pp. 309–329. patternsofcommoning.org/the-fountain-of- fish-ontological-collisions-at-sea
  21. Andrea J. Nightingale, “Commons and Alternative Rationalities: Subjectivity, Emotion and the (Non)rational Commons,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, 297–308. patternsofcommoning. org/uncategorized/commons-and-alternative-rationalities-subjectivity- emotion-and-the-nonrational-commons
  22. A metaphor used by Ludwig Wittgenstein when referring to
  23. See, g., Vijaya Nagarajan, “On the Multiple Languages of the Commons: A Theoretical View,” Worldviews 21, 2017, pp. 41–60.
  24. Marilyn Strathern, The Gender of the Gift, University of California Press, 1988, 13. We are indebted to Lewis Hyde for calling to our attention the work of Strathern, Marriott, and LiPuma.
  25. Strathern, p.340
  26. Strathern, p.165
  27. Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi, “The Law of Texts: Copyright and the Academia,” College English, 57, no. 7, November 1995, p. 769, cited in Lewis Hyde, Common as Air, Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2010, pp. 177–178.
  28. John Swansburg, “The Self-Made Man: The Story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth,” Slate, September 29, slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2014/09/the_self_made_ man_history_of_a_myth_from_ben_franklin_to_andrew_carnegie.html
  29. ftomas Widlok, Anthropology and the Economic of Sharing, Routledge, 2016, p.
  30. Ecofeminist philosophers such as Donna Haraway and Val Plumwood, among others, have challenged the idea of the autonomous individual, emphasizing the deep interdependencies between humans and nature as well as situated Plumwood writes: “To the extent that we hyper- separate ourselves from nature and reduce it conceptually in order to justify domination, we not only lose the ability to empathize and to see the non- human sphere in ethical terms, but also get a false sense of our own character and location that includes an illusory sense of autonomy.” Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason, Routledge, 2002, p. 9.
  31. See also Mike Telschow, Townships and the Spirit of Ubuntu, Clifton Publications,
  32. John Mbeti, African Religions and Philosophies, Doubleday, 1970, 141.
  33. Author Pagan Kennedy writes: “According to ftomas Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ‘since 1900, the average life span in the United States has increased by more than 30 years; 25 years of this gain have been attributed to public health advances.’ That’s why we should all fight for other people’s health. Your decisions can affect when I die, and vice versa.” New York Times, March 11, 2018. nytimes.com/2018/03/09/opinion/sunday/longevity- pritikin-atkins.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fsunday
  34. Rabindranath Tagore, The Religion of Man, Martino Fine Books, 2013,
  35. Martin Buber, I and Thou, Touchstone,
  36. Martin Luther King, , Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963. web.cn.edu/kwheeler/document/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf
  37. Rachel Louise Carson, “Undersea,” The Atlantic, September 1937, 55-67, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309354897_ Undersea_-_Rachel_Carson.
  38. See g., Massimo De Angelis, Omnia Sunt Communia, Zed Books, 2017; Daniel Christian Wahl, Designing Regenerative Cultures, Triarchy Press, 2016; and Wolfgang Hoeschele, Wirtschaft neu erfinden: Grundlegung für ein Ökonomie der Lebensfülle, Oekom Verlag, 2017.
  39. Wesley Wildman, “An Introduction to Relational Ontology,” May 15, 2006. wesleywildman.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/docs/2010- Wildman-Introduction-to-Relational-Ontology-final-author-version- Polkinghorne-ed.pdf
  40. Eric Beinhocker, The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity and the Radical Remaking of Economics, Harvard University Press, 2006, pp. 167–168.
  41. This idea has a deep kinship with the concept of patterns developed by Christopher Alexander, as explained in Chapter
  42. Stuart Kauffman, The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Oxford University Press, See also Wikipedia entry, at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Kauffman
  43. The terms “self-organization” and “autopoiesis” may be problematic because they imply the autonomous agency of individuals, when in fact everything is embedded in larger contexts of interconnection and inter- That is why we use the term “peer governance” instead of “self-governance.” However, if one takes a cue from philosopher Donna Haraway in her book Staying with the Trouble, autopoiesis is comple- mented by sympoiesis (“becoming-with”). The result is a generative friction between interactive and intra-active beings.
  44. See, e.g., Terrence Deacon, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter, W.W. Norton, 2012; summary at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Incomplete_Nature. See also Andreas Weber, Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science, New Society Publishing, 2016.
  45. Deacon, p. 310.
  46. Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist, Chelsea Green Publishing,
  47. Andreas Weber, Matter and Desire: An Erotic Ecology, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017, p.
  48. Weber, Matter and Desire, p.
  49. Stacey Kerr, “ftree-Minute Theory: What is Intra-Action?” November 19, 2014. com/watch?v=v0SnstJoEec

 

Chapter 3

    1. Frank Seifart, “The Structure and Use of Shape-Based Noun Classes in Miraña [Northwest Amazon],” Phd Thesis, 2005. pubman.mpdl. de/pubman/item/escidoc:402010:3/component/escidoc:402009/ mirana_seifart2005_s.pdf
    2. David Bollier, “The Rise of Netpolitik: How the Internet is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy,” Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, 2003, 27–28. bollier.org/rise-netpolitik-how-in- ternet-changing-international-politics-and-diplomacy-2003
    3. ftomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, Illinois, University of Chicago Press, fourth edition, 1962/2012.
    4. Ludwik Fleck, Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, University of Chicago Press, 1935/1979, p. 28
    5. Fleck, p. 27.
    6. Fleck, pp. 38–39.
    7. See the seminal work of Gary Becker in Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, 3rd edition, University of Chicago Press, 1964/1993.
    8. Wibke Bergemann, “Last Words: What We Lose When a Language Dies,” (German: Letzte worte Was wir verlieren, wenn eine Sprache stirbt), May 1, 2018. deutschlandfunk.de/letzte-worte-was-wir-verlieren-wenn- eine-sprache-stirbt.740.de.html?dram:article_id=416634
    9. Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks, Penguin Books, 2015, 39.
    10. Macfarlane, p. 311
    11. Macfarlane, p. 18.
    12. Macfarlane, p. 20.
    13. Jonathan Rowe, “It’s All in a Name,” January 26, jonathanrowe. org/its-all-in-a-name
    14. Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine, Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World’s Languages, Oxford University Press,
    15. Tim Dee, “Naming Names,” Caught by the River, June 24, caught- bytheriver.net/2014/06/naming-names-tim-dee-robert-macfarlane/ cited by Macfarlane, p. 24.
    16. See, g., George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, 3rd edition, University of Chicago Press, 2016; Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, University of Chicago Press, 2003; Lakoff, The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.
    17. Jeremy Lent, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning, Prometheus Books, 2017, 277–292.
    18. Elisabeth Wehling, Politisches Framing, 84–85.
    19. Ludwik Fleck, The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, 84.
    20. Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Fontana, 1976.
    21. John Patrick Leary, “Keywords for the Age of Austerity: Innovation,” February 27, 2014. jpleary.tumblr.com/post/78022307136/keywords- for-the-age-of-austerity-innovation
    22. Kate Reed Petty, “Is It Time to Retire the Word ’Citizen’?” Los Angeles Review of Books, April 22, 2017. blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/ time-retire-word-citizen/
    23. Wolfgang Sachs, “Development: The Rise and Decline of an Ideal” (article for the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change), Wuppertal Paper 108, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, August 2000. epub.wupperinst.org/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/10 78/file/WP108.pdf
    24. Miki Kashtan, Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working Together to Create a Nonviolent Future, Fearless Heart Publications, 2015, 379.
    25. Kashtan, p. 181.
    26. org/sociocracy
    27. Wikipedia entry, “Holacracy.” wikipedia.org/wiki/Holacracy
    28. Otto Scharmer, The Essentials of Theory U.: Core Principles and Applications, Berrett-Koehler, 2018.
    29. See entry on “Scale” in David Fleming, Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, Chelsea Green Publishers, 2017, 412–414.
    30. See entries for “Intermediate Economy,” “Regrettable Necessities,” and “Intensification Paradox,” in Fleming, Lean Logic, 224–227, pp. 389–391, and pp. 219–220.
    31. From ftomas Lomée’s installation at the University of Ghent in soli- darity with the Climate Summit in Paris, December arthistory teachingresources.org.
    32. Alan Rosenblith,“Scarcity Isan Illusion, No Reality,” September 30, alanrosenblith.blogspot.com/2010/09/scarcity-is-illusion-no-really. html
    33. James Suzman, Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen, Bloomsbury,
    34. Arturo Escobar, “Commons in the Pluriverse,” in Bollier and Helfrich, edi- tors, Patterns of Commoning, Off the Common Books, 2015, 348–360. patternsofcommoning.org/commons-in-the-pluriverse. See also Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds, Duke University Press, 2018.
    35. The Directory of Open Access Journals listed 13,154 open access jour- nals on May 9, 2019, containing more than 9 million articles. doaj. org
    36. org/use-remix
    37. The danger of focusing on openness and not commoning can be seen in the clever commercial strategies of certain academic publishers such as Elsevier and They often allow the publication of scholarly arti- cles under Creative Commons licenses, but only after charging authors exorbitant upfront author fees or subscription rates. This is a degraded form of open access that exploits academic researchers as a way to maximize private profits without empowering them as commoners. Commons-based publishing, by contrast, seeks to minimize costs to all participants, maximize the benefits of no-cost/low-cost sharing, and therefore allow information to be widely shared.
    38. A 2017 book by Paul Stacey and Sarah Hinchliff Pearson, Made With Creative Commons, examines diverse types of creative works that bear Creative Commons licenses and are successfully sold in the market- place: org/use-remix/made-with-climate-change
    39. Peter Barnes, Capitalism 0: Guide to Reclaiming the Commons, Berrett- Koehler, 2006.
    40. Dardot and Laval, Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle, 2015, p. 23. (“non seulement ce qui est ‘mis en commun,’ mais aussi et surtout ceux que ont des ‘charges en commun.’”).
    41. Lynn Margulis, “Symbiogenesis and Symbionticism,” in Margulis and
    42. Fester, Symbiosis as a Source of Evolutionary Innovation: Speculation and Morphogenesis, MIT Press, 1991, pp. 1–14.
    43. openstreetmap.org
    44. As cited by John M. Culkin, “A Schoolman’s Guide to Marshall McLuhan,” The Saturday Review, March 18, 1967, pp. 53 and 70.
    45. See, e.g., eu
    46. James Scott, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, Yale University Press, 2017).
    47. “The pure cost-based process is … implicitly a life-destroying process,” writes Christopher Alexander, because “it interferes with our freedom to do what is right.” Alexander, The Nature of Order, Book II, pp. 501– 502.
    48. Lewis Hyde, Common as Air, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012, 35.

     

    Part II: Introduction

    1. John ftomas, “A Socio-Technical Pattern Language for Sustainability,” IBM T.C. Watson Research, Vancouver, 2011.
    2. Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, Book II, 176.
    3. wikipedia.org/wiki/Axiom
    4. For more on universal patterns of social interaction, see David West, “Patterns of Humanity,” Presentation at PurplSoc Conference, Krems
    5. A pattern has a formal, structured description — which we don’t use in this book — consisting of several elements: the pattern name, a descrip- tion of the context and problem, an illustration, an example, mention of positive and negative forces, and related patterns, among other Such structured descriptions vary according to the field of interest. But the first element of a full-fledged pattern description is always the same. It is the pattern name: the succinct expression of good solutions to a recurrent problem. In this book, we often use the word “pattern” as a shorthand for the formal pattern when in fact we are referring to the “pattern name.”
    6. For example (as we will see in coming chapters), the three patterns Pool & Share; Pool, Cap & Divide Up; and Pool, Cap & Mutualize that we describe in Chapter 6 each refers to the other and extends the Some patterns make existing tensions explicit, such as Keep Commons and Commerce Distinct and Trade with Price Sovereignty. Other patterns complement each other, such as Bring Diversity into Shared Purpose and Cultivate Shared Purpose and Value. The point is, there is no such thing as a standalone pattern.
    7. International Journal of the Commons, at org

     

    Chapter 4

    1. Pascal Gielen, “Introduction: There’s a Solution to the Crisis,” in Pascal Gielen, editor, No Culture, No Europe — On the Foundations of Politics, Antennae Valiz), 22.
    2. K. Gibson-Graham, The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy, University of Minnesota Press, 1996/2006,
    3. xvi.
    4. Gielen, p. 14.
    5. Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, Vintage Books, 1979, p.
    6. Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge University Press, 1990, 44.
    7. Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, University of Chicago Press, 1958; and The Tacit Dimension, University of Chicago Press, See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacit_knowledge
    8. Frank Fischer, Citizens, Experts and the Environment: The Politics of Local Knowledge, Duke University Press, 2000, back
    9. David Holmgren, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways to Sustainability, Holmgren Design Services, 2002.
    1. Suzman, Affluence Without Abundance, p.
    2. Kat Anderson, Taming the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources, University of California Press, 2002, p. xvi.
    3. Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective,” Feminist Studies 14(3), August 1988, pp. 575–599.
    4. Kat Anderson, p. xvi. This point is developed in a series of essays in Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration, edited by James K. Boyce, Sunita Narain and Elizabeth A Stanton, Anthem Press, 2007.
    5. Elizabeth Malkin, “In Guatemala, People Living Off Forests Are Tasked with Protecting Them,” New York Times, November 25, nytimes. com/2015/11/26/world/americas/in-guatemala-people-living-off- forests-are-tasked-with-protecting-them.html
    6. Shrikrishna Upadhyay, “Community Based Forest and Livelihood Management in Nepal,” in The Wealth of the Commons, Levellers Press, 2013, 265–270. wealthofthecommons.org/essay/community-based- forest-and-livelihood-management-nepal
    7. Sim van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan, Ecological Design, Island Press,
    8. David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World, Vintage,
    9. Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science, New Society Publishers,
    10. Siddhartha Mukherjee, “The Invasion Equation,” The New Yorker, September 11, 2017, pp. 40–49. newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/ 11/cancers-invasion-equation
    11. In his book Lean Logic, about an envisioned post-capitalist culture, David Fleming noted the importance of carnival: “Celebrations of music, dance, torchlight, mime, games, feast and folly have been central to the life of com- munity for all times other than those when the pretensions of large-scale civilization descended like a frost on public ” He cited the importance of enacting a “radical break” with “the normality of the working day,” the need to express “the animal spirit of the heart of the tamed, domesticated citizen,” and rituals of “sacrifice-and-succession” to symbolize the birth and renewal of the community despite the deaths of individuals in the commu- nity. David Fleming, Lean Logic, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016, p. 30.

     

    Chapter 5

    1. Robert Ellickson, Order Without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes, Harvard University Press, 1994.
    2. In the Grimm’s fairy tale, Goldilocks, the little girl who walked into the ftree Bears’ house, rejected one bowl of porridge because it was “too hot,” the other was “too cold,” but the final one was “just ”
    3. Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions of Collective Action, Cambridge University Press, 1990, 90.
    4. Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, Book II, 176–177.
    5. This account comes from economics journalist Christian Schubert of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 26, 2013. faz.net/ aktuell/wirtschaft/wirtschaftswissen/3-prozent-defizitgrenze-wie-das- maastricht-kriterium-im-louvre-entstand-12591473.html
    6. Luxembourg, Estonia, and Sweden, which is outside the nzz. ch/wirtschaft/europaeische-waehrungsunion-fuenf-antworten-zum- maastricht-vertrag-ld.133407
    7. A designer of digital platforms, Simone Cicero, believes that online platforms will not succeed unless they provide people with “expanded opportunities to leverage their available potential (the assets and capa- bilities they have access to); respond to the continuous pressures they experience (in a techno-socially disrupted world); achieve their strategic goals; and provide them with relevant experience gains (easier, cheaper, faster ways to achieve their objectives …).” Simone Cicero, “Stories of Platform Design,” at platformdesigntoolkit.com
    8. The official name of Unitierra (University of the Earth) is Centro de Encuentros y Diálogos Interculturales, C.
    9. Interview with Gustavo Esteva, December 4,
    10. Jukka Peltokoski, Niklas Toivakainen, Tero Toivanen, and Ruby van der Wekken, “Helsinki Timebank: Currency as a Commons,” in David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, Off the Commons Books, 2015, p. 195–198. patternsofcommoning.org/ helsinki-timebank-currency-as-a-commons
    11. Eric Nanchen and Muriel Borgeat, “Bisse de Savièse: A Journey ftrough Time to the Irrigation System in Valais, Switzerland,” in Bollier and Silke, Patterns of Commoning, 61–64. patternsofcommoning.org/

     

     

    bisse-de-saviese-a-journey-through-time-to-the-irrigation-system-in- valais-switzerland

    1. unesco.org/en/RL/culture-of-jeju-haenyeo-women-divers-01068
    2. co
    3. Arthur Brock, “Cryptocurrencies are Dead,” Medium, September 15, medium.com/metacurrency-project/cryptocurrencies-are-dead- d4223154d783. See also Mike Hearn, “Why is Bitcoin Forking?” Medium, August 15, 2015. medium.com/faith-and-future/why-is- bitcoin-forking-d647312d22c1
    4. Joline Blais, “Indigenous Domain: Pilgrim, Permaculture and Perl,” Intelligent Agent, September 2006. researchgate.net/publication/2994 60968_Indigenous_Domain_Pilgrim_Permaculture_and_Perl
    5. Stefan Brunnhuber, Die Kunst der Transformation, Wie wir lernen, die Welt zu verändern, 2016, p. 56.
    6. In German, Komplexität müssen wir emotional aushalten können.
    7. Ostrom, Governing the Commons, pp. 93–94.
    8. Christopher Kelty, Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software, Duke University Press, 2008, p. 118.
    9. Ibid, p. 142.
    10. Lewis ftomas, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher, Penguin, 1974, pp. 133–134.
    11. Kate Chapman, “Commoning in Times of Disaster: The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, 214–217.patternsofcommoning.org/commoning-in-times-of-disaster- the-humanitarian-openstreetmap-team
    12. Ostrom, Governing the Commons, p.
    13. Stephen Lansing, Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali, Princeton University Press, 2006.
    14. Plurality and majority rule are different in that plurality makes the option with the most votes the winner, regardless of whether the fifty percent threshold is passed (equivalent to majority rule when there are three or more choices).
    15. See Wikipedia entry for “Consensus Decision Making” at wikipedia.org/ wiki/Consensus_decision-making. See also Ian Hughes, “QuakerDecision Making,” February 2011. epoq.wikia.com/wiki/Quaker_Decision_Making
    16. Richard Bartlett and Marco Deseriis, “Loomio and the Problem of Deliberation,” Open Democracy, December 2, opendemocracy.net/ digitaliberties/marco-deseriis-richard-bartlett/loomio-and-problem-of- deliberation
    17. wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making
    18. James Priest, March 9, jamespriest.org/sociocracy-consensus- decision-making-whats-the-difference
    19. Ted Rau and Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Many Voices, One Song: Shared Power with Sociocracy, Sociocracy for All, 2018. See sociocracyforall.org
    20. For more on Sociocracy, see Wikipedia entry at wikipedia.org/wiki/ Sociocracy
    21. For more see sk-prinzip.eu
    22. org/we-are-one-big-conversation-commoning-in- venezuela
    23. com/trends/ecology-evolution/fulltext/S0169-5347(16)30043-X/html
    24. Wikipedia entry, “Heterarchy.” wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterarchy
    25. Nicolas Kristof, “The Bankers and the Revolutionaries,” The New York Times, October 1, 2011. nytimes.com/2011/10/02/opinion/sunday/ kristof-the-bankers-and-the-revolutionaries.html?_r=1&partner= rssnyt&emc=rss
    26. wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterarchy
    27. Ostrom, Governing the Commons, p.
    28. Cleaver, “Moral Ecological Rationality, Institutions and the Manage- ment of Common Property Resources,” Development and Change, 31(2): 374 (2000), in Michael Cox, Gwen Arnold, and Sergio Villamayor Tomás, “A Review of Design Principles of Community-Based Natural Resource Management,” Ecology & Society 14(4): 38. ecologyandsociety. org/vol15/iss4/art38
    29. Ostrom, Governing the Commons, 86.
    30. Étienne Le Roy, “How I Have Been Conducting Research on the Commons for ftirty Years Without Knowing It,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, pp. 277-296. patternsofcommoning.org/how- i-have-been-conducting-research-on-the-commons-for-thirty-years- without-knowing-it
    31. Franciscus M. Vera, Grazing Ecology and Forest History, Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, 2000, p. 386.
    32. Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 630 (1886).
    33. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the movement in 2014 has led more than 2,500 land occupations with about 370,000 families and has won ownership rights to nearly 75 million acres (7.5 million hect- ares) of land as a result of direct MST action.
    34. This principle, developed during the nineteenth century, became Catholic doctrine with Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum encyc- Charles C. Geisler and Gail Daneker, eds. Property and Values: Alternatives to Public and Private Ownership, Island Press, 2000, p. 31.
    35. International Co-operative Alliance, “World Co-operative Monitor,” at coop
    36. Benjamin Mako Hill, “Problems and Strategies in Financing Voluntary Free Software Projects,” June 10, 2005. mako.cc/writing/funding_ volunteers/funding_volunteers.html
    37. Hill cites research by Bernard Enjolra at the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, Norway, who monitored the role and nature of voluntary labor in Norwegian sports organizations after money was introduced to deal with certain bookkeeping and organizational work. The result was that fewer people volunteered and those who did volunteer chose to work less. Bernard Enjolra, “Does the Commercialization of Voluntary Organizations ‘Crowd Out’ Voluntary Work?” Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics 73:3, 2002, pp. 375–398.
    38. Simon Sarazin, “Separate Commons and Commerce to Make It Work for the Commons.” discourse.transformap.co/t/separate-commons-and- commerce-to-make-it-work-for-the-commons/625. See also com
    39. guerrillamediacollective.org/index.php/Commons-Oriented_ Open_Cooperative_Governance_Model_V_2.0
    40. Karlitschek’s resignation letter is at karlitschek.de/2016/06/nextcloud/? utm_content=bufferef6af&utm_medium=social&utm_source= com&utm_campaign=buffer. See also Steven J. Vaughan- Nichols, “OwnCloud Founder Resigns from His Cloud Company,” ZDNet, April 28, 2016, at zdnet.com/article/owncloud-founder-resigns- from-cloud-company
    41. org. See also Enric Senabre Hidalgo, “Goteo: Crowdfunding to BuildNewCommons,”inBollierandHelfrich,PatternsofCommoning.pat- ternsofcommoning.org/goteo-crowdfunding-to-build-new-commons
    42. Sobiecki’s currency listings can be found at com/How-many- complementary-currency-systems-exist-worldwide. One of the biggest such lists is curated by the Complementary Currency Resource Center on its online map: complementarycurrency.org/cc-world-map
    43. The proposal has been made by Philippe Aigrain, at paigrain.debat- public.net/docs/internet_creation_1–3.pdf. See also Peter Barnes, Capitalism 0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons, Berrett-Kohler, 2006.

     

    Chapter 6

    1. wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_your_own_dog_food
    2. Donald E. Knuth, “The Errors of TeX,” Software: Practice and Experience, 19(7), July 1989, p.
    3. org
    4. ftomas Berry, Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as a Sacred Community, Counterpoint, p.
    5. de/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/04-FabLabs.pdf, page 14.
    6. org/en/about; see the map: repaircafe.org/en/visit/
    7. Neera Singh, “The Affective Labor of Growing Forests and the Becoming of Environmental Subjects: Rethinking Environmentality in Odisha, India,” Geoforum, 2013 47:189-198. doi.org/10.1016/j.geo- forum.2013.01.010 and academia.edu/3106203/The_affective_labor_ of_growing_forests_and_the_becoming_of_environmental_subjects_ Rethinking_environmentality_in_Odisha_India
    8. Silvia Federici’s excellent collection of essays, Re-Enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons, PM Press, 2019, is illumi- nating on this
    9. de/feministische-oekonomie-unbezahlte-arbeit- ist-milliarden.976.de.html?dram:article_id=331172
    10. See e.g., org
    11. Samuel Bowles reviews many of these studies in his book The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are No Substitute for Good Citizens, Yale University Press,
    12. Richard Titmuss, The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy, Pantheon, 1971.
    13. org/wiki/LifeTrac
    14. Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, “Cooking Pot Markets: An Economic Model for the Trade in Free Goods and Services on the Internet,” First Monday 3(3). org/issues/issue3_3/ghosh/index.html
    15. Hyde, Common as Air, 43.
    16. Interview with Rainer Kippe of SSM, August 20,
    17. See also SSM website at ssm-koeln.org
    18. Fred Pearce, “Common Ground: Securing Land Rights and Safeguarding the Earth,” Land Rights Now, International Land Coalition, Oxfam, Rights + Resources, 2016. landcoalition.org/sites/default/files/ documents/resources/bp-common-ground-land-rights-020316-en.pdf. The report concludes: “Up to 5 billion people depend on Indigenous and community lands, which make up over 50 percent of the land on the planet; they legally own just one-fifth. The remaining five billion hectares remain unprotected and vulnerable to land grabs from more powerful entities like governments and corporations. There is growing evidence of the vital role played by full legal ownership of land by Indigenous peoples and local communities in preserving cultural diversity and in combating poverty and hunger, political instability and climate change.”
    19. John Edge, “The Hidden Radicalism of Southern Food,” New York Times, May 6, 2017, at nytimes.com/2017/05/06/opinion/sunday/the- hidden-radicalism-of-southern-food.html
    20. Cecosesola’s full name is Central Cooperativa de Servicios Sociales del Estado Lara (www.cecosesola.org). See profile, “We Are One Big Conversation: Commoning in Venezuela,” in Bollier & Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, pp. 258–264, at patternsofcommoning.org/we- are-one-big-conversation-commoning-in-venezuela
    21. Ibid, 262. See also “Financing for the Commons.”
    22. Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality, Harper & Row, 1973, 23.
    23. Ibid, p.
    24. Andrea Vetter offers criteria for convivial tools in Andrea Vetter, “The Matrix of Convivial Technologies: Assessing Technologies for Degrowth,” Journal of Cleaner Production (2017), 1–9. konvivialetechnologien. blogsport.de/images/Vetter_JcP2017_MatrixConvivialTechnology.pdf
    25. A network involves individual people/nodes in episodic transactions with no ongoing social connections, whereas members of a federation have a shared goal and
    26. Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation, MIT Press, web.mit. edu/evhippel/www/books/DI/DemocInn.pdf
    27. James Boyce, Peter Rosset and Elizabeth A. Stanton, “Land Reform and Sustainable Development,” Chapter 5 in James K. Boyce et al., Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration, Anthem Press, 2007), p. 140.
    28. The idea has also been called “Indigenous innovation” and “informal innovation.” See Peter Drahos and Pat Mooney, Indigenous Peoples’ Innovation: Intellectual Property Pathways to Development, Australian National University Press, 2012. jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hfgx. See also “Farmers’ Rights,” in Rural Advancement Fund International newsletter, May/June1989. etcgroup.org/sites/www.etcgroup.org/files/publication/ 555/01/raficom17farmersrights.pdf
    29. Wikipedia entry, “Jugaad,” at wikipedia.org/wiki/Jugaad
    30. Campesino a Campesino, foodfirst.org/publication/campesino-a-camp esino-voices-from-latin-americas-farmer-to-farmer-movement-for- sustainable-agriculture/
    31. org
    32. Open Source Ecology, org
    33. OpenSPIM, openspim.org. See also Jacques Paysan, “OpenSPIM: A High-Tech Commons for Research and Education,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, 170–175. patternsofcommoning. org/openspim-a-high-tech-commons-for-research-and-education
    34. com, also known as “Protei” hardware.
    35. Wolfgang Sachs, The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power, Zed Books, 2nd Edition, 2009, 122.
    36. Michael Bauwens, “The Emergence of Open Design and Open Manufacturing,” We_magazine, 2009. snuproject.wordpress.com/2011/ 12/17/the-emergence-of-open-design-and-open-manufacturing-we_ See also Vasilis Kostakis et al., “Design Global, Manufacture Local: Exploring the Contours of an Emerging Productive Model,” Futures 73, 2015, pp. 126–135; and P2P Foundation wiki entry, “Design Global, Manufacture Local” at wiki.p2pfoundation.net/ Design_Global,_Manufacture_Local
    37. Celine Piques and Xavier Rizos, “Peer to Peer and the Commons: A Path Toward Transition: A Matter, Energy and Thermodynamic Perspective,” P2P Foundation, 2017. commonstransition.org/wp-content/uploads/ 2017/10/Report-P2P-Thermodynamics-VOL_1-web_2.0.pdf

     

    Part III: Introduction

    1. Correspondence with Dina Hasted, December 2,
    2. Shareable, Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons, Tides Center/ Shareable, 2018. net/sharing-cities

     

    Chapter 7

    1. Eduardo Moisés Penalver and Sonia Katyal, Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership, Yale University Press, 2010.
    2. P. ftompson, Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture, New Press, 1993, p. 162.
    3. B. Macpherson, Property, Mainstream and Critical Positions, University of Toronto, 1978, pp. 199–200.
    4. These themes are explored by scholars of institutional
    5. The person who is most cited for moving property from a concept of person object relations (Blackstone) to person-person relations (social relations) is Wesley Hohfeld. See Wesley N. Hohfeld, “Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning,” 23 Yale Law Journal 16, (1913); Wesley N. Hohfeld, “Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning,” 26 Yale Law Journal 710, (1917.)
    6. Margaret Radin, Reinterpreting Property, University of Chicago Press,
    7. 35. Because property rights are generally focused on the right of alienation in a liberal market order, they privilege a kind of personhood based on absolute freedom in market relationships.

     

     

    1. B. Macpherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke, Clarendon Press, 1962, p. 3.
    2. blogspot.de/2011/08/possessive-individualism. html. Macpherson, p. 3.
    3. Macpherson, Political Theory, 3.
    4. William Blackstone “Of Property, in General”, in George Sharswood, editor, Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England in Four Books (J.B. Lippincott Co, Philadelphia, 1753/1893 reprint) 1, Book 2, Ch. 1. oll.libertyfund.org/titles/blackstone-commentaries- on-the-laws-of-england-in-four-books-vol-1
    5. Gregory Alexander, Commodity & Propriety: Competing Visions of Property in American Legal Thought 1776–1970, University of Chicago Press, 1997, p. 321.
    6. This is the conventional translation, but it can also be translated “To the common ”
    7. John Locke, Second Treatise of Edited by C.B. Macpherson, Hackett Publishing, 1980, p. 19.
    8. There is a considerable scholarly commentary on the Lockean proviso, much of it kicked off when philosopher Robert Nozick coined the term in his book Anarchy, State and Utopia, Harper & Row, 1974, 178. See also the Wikipedia entry, “Lockean proviso.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Lockean_proviso
    9. Étienne Le Roy, “How I Have Been Conducting Research on the Commons for ftirty Years Without Knowing It,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, 277–296. patternsofcommoning. org/how-i-have-been-conducting-research-on-the-commons-for-thirty- years-without-knowing-it
    10. The idea of vernacular law is developed in Burns Weston and David Bollier, Green Governance: Ecologial Survival, Human Rights and the Law of the Commons, Cambridge University Press, 2013, pp. 104–112.
    11. Hohfeld as the founder of the social relations view of property is described by Syed Talha and Anna Di Robilant in “The Fundamental Building Blocks of Social Relations Regarding Resources: Hohfeld in Europe and Beyond,” March 27, 2018. papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers. cfm?abstract_id=3149768. Nonphysicalist understandings of the con- cept of property go back to the second half of the nineteenth century, See Gregory Alexander, Commodity & Propriety, p. 322, foot- note 41.
    12. Joseph Singer, “The Legal Rights Debate in Analytical Jurisprudence from Bentham to Hohfeld,” Wisconsin Law Review, 1982, 987.
    13. Alexander, Commodity and Propriety, p.

     

     

    1. Corporate property is often conflated with individual property, so that the significant differences between the two are not made Individuals are misled into regarding corporate property as if it were personal property.
    2. This account comes from Lewis Hyde, Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2010, 169–173.
    3. P. ftompson, Customs in Common, New Press, 1993, p 167.
    4. A fascinating exploration of these issues can be found in Joseph Sax, Playing Darts with a Rembrandt: Public and Private Rights in Cultural Treasures, University of Michigan Press, 1999.
    5. Hartmut Zückert, “The Commons — A Historical Concept of Property Rights,” in Bollier and Helfrich, The Wealth of the Commons, Levellers Press, 2012, 129. wealthofthecommons.org/essay/commons-%E2% 80%93-historical-concept-property-rights.
    6. More than 1,500 forest and pasture commons exist today in the Roman Carpathians Monika Vasile, “Formalizing Commons, Registering Rights: The Making of the Forest and Pasture Commons in the Romanian Carpathians from the 19th Century to Post- Socialism,” International Journal of the Commons 12(1), pp. 170–201. DOI: doi.org/10.18352/ijc.805. See also “The Role of Memory and Identity in the Obştea Forest Commons of Romania,” in Bollier and Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, pp. 65–70. patternsofcommoning.org/ the-role-of-memory-and-identity-in-the-obstea-forest-commons-of- romania
    7. oak-schwyz.ch
    8. Trent Schroyer, Beyond Western Economics: Remembering Other Economic Cultures, Routledge, 2009, p.
    9. Oliver Wendell Holmes, , The Common Law (1881). 1215.org/law notes/work-in-progress/holmes/index.html
    10. One of the most extensive treatments of customary law is an anthology that shows how unwritten, informal law has flourished in a variety of contexts throughout history. Alison Dundes Rentln and Alan Dundes, editors, Folk Law: Essays in the Theory and Practice of Lex Non Scripta, University of Wisconsin Press,
    11. Carol Rose, “Comedy of the Commons: Custom, Commerce, and Inherently Public Property,” in her book Property and Persuasion: Essays on the History, Theory, and Rhetoric of Ownership, Westview Press, 1994, 134.
    12. Graham Walker (1905), 62 Atlantic Reporter, at 99.
    13. Rose, Property and Persuasion, pp. 123–24.

     

     

    1. Land Rights landrightsnow.org/en/home and pbs.twimg.com/ media/DZXa7iCX4AAkgQI.jpg
    2. Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions of Collective Action, Cambridge University Press, 1990, 90.
    3. Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, Commun: Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle, Éditions La Découverte, 2014, 583.
    4. Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, Beacon Press, 1944, 132 and 252.
    5. CBS Television interview with Salk, See It Now (April 12, 1955), quoted in Jon Cohen, Shots in the Dark: The Wayward Search for an AIDS Vaccine, W. Norton, 2001.
    6. govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/central-north-island/ places/taupo-trout-fishery/licenses-access-rules-and-regulations/ rules-and-regulations
    7. “By the law of nature these things are common to mankind — the air, running water, the sea, and consequently the shores of the ”
    8. 2, 2 ap. Digest. 1, 8, 1: “Summa itaque rerum divisio in duos articulos diducitur: nam aliae sunt divini iuris, aliae humani. ‘thus the highest division of things is reduced into two articles some belong to divine right, some to human right’.”
    9. See full list of World Heritage sites at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_ Heritage_site
    10. Usufruct is the civil law term for the right to reap the (renewable) ben- efit of a resource such as a plant or forest so long as the underlying resource itself is not
    11. Theodore Steinberg, Slide Mountain: Or, the Folly of Owning Nature, University of California Press,
    12. org/pdfs/16/1/289.pdf
    13. In German, Sache/Gegenstand, Streitfall,
    14. Yan ftomas, La valeur des choses, 1449 and 1454; Res conveys more the meaning of the Greek ta pragmata.
    15. The term “resource” as commonly used today, and also in the commons lit- erature, including our own contributions, reflects a reified understanding of res, even though the two terms are etymologically different: “resource” as used in the seventeenth century denotes “means of supplying a want or deficiency,” from the French resource, “a source, spring,” and Latin resurgere, “rise ”
    16. Silke Helfrich, “Common Goods Don’t Simply Exist — They Are Created,” in Bollier and Helfrich, The Wealth of the Commons, 61–67. wealthofthecommons.org/essay/common-goods-don%E2%80% 99t-simply-exist-%E2%80%93-they-are-created

     

     

    1. Silke Helfrich, “Common Goods Don’t Simply Exist — They Are Created,” in Bollier and Helfrich, The Wealth of the Commons, 64. Saki Bailey, “The Architecture of Legal Institutions,” in Mattei, Ugo and
    2. Haskell, editors, Research Handbook on Political Economy and Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015, pp. 481–495.

     

    Chapter 8

    1. For details on workslots, see the Coop’s membership manual at food- com/manual/
    2. Park Slope Food Coop website at com
    3. Park Slope Food Coop Members Manual, 28.
    4. Max Falkowitz, “Birth of the Kale,” Grub Street, April 19, grub- street.com/2018/04/history-of-the-park-slope-food-coop.html
    5. Karl Marx, Paris Manuscript, 1st Manuscript Nr. 4, “Estranged Labor,” where Marx names four aspects of alienation (or objectification) of workers as a consequence of estranged labor: from the products of their own labor; from their own physical and mental energies (a self-es- trangement); from their essential “species being” and spiritual nature; and from their own bodies. marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/ manuscripts/labour.htm
    6. Erich Fromm is instructive about self-reflection and the meaning of property, especially in his book To Have or to Be? The Nature of the Psyche, Harper & Row,
    7. An idea promoted by futurist Stewart Brand and the Long Now Foundation, which was established “to foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 ” longnow.org
    8. ftomas Berry, Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as a Sacred Community, Counterpoint, p.
    9. On Wikipedia, individual contributions can be traced back only in the article’s history; they cannot be traced on the mainpage of the wiki
    10. This comparsion is inspired by Ward Cunningham’s notes on the idea of ownership, at fed.wiki/view/welcome-visitors.
    11. The one Achilles’ heel: a large corporation could “suck out” content from a federation of Fedwikis and use it for its own purposes, and not share it, so long as it kept everything behind a But once pub- lished on the internet and available to a federation of Fedwiki sites, no one can assert copyright control over Fedwiki content. If a company keeps someone else’s content on a website behind a firewall, the content would legally be considered private and not republished, and therefore not a violation of copyright law.

     

     

    1. Civil law governs property systems in almost all Latin American coun- It was designed to deal with the overlap of written (codified) and unwritten (uncodified) approaches. ftree sources of law had to be taken into account: canonical law (property that comes from God), Spanish law (property that comes from the King, the so-called rega- lian system whose core premises inform nation-states’ management of property), and Indigenous law (property belongs to the respective mon- arch). See José Juan González: “Civil Law Treatment of the Subsurface in Latin American Countries,” in The Law of Energy Underground: Understanding New Developments in Subsurface Production, Transmission and Storage, Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 59–74. José Guadalupe Zúñiga Alegría, Juan Antonio Castillo López: Minería y propiedad del suelo y del subsuelo en México, in Alegatos, núm 87, México, May/ August 2014, 132.248.9.34/hevila/Alegatos/2014/no87/7.pdf
    2. In the US, infinite air rights based on ownership of land were formally rejected by the Supreme Court in 1946 in the case of United States Causby, 328 U.S. 256.
    3. When the Napoleonic Code was drafted, article 552 declared that own- ership of land included ownership of what is over and under
    4. Blackstone’s Commentaries Book 2, Chapter 2, 18. avalon.law.yale. edu/18th_century/blackstone_bk2ch2.asp

    16 We focus here on the relationship between individual control of one’s site with the collective right to make use of and take from it. We don’t discuss the server ownership at this point.

    1. While Creative Commons licenses can permit or restrict certain types of re-uses (e.g., commercial, derivative re-use if licensed for further re-use), copyright holders cannot easily differentiate among users in granting permission for re-use. One attempt to do that is the Peer Production License (PPL), a derivative of the CC licenses that permits only other commoners, cooperatives, and nonprofits to share and re-use the mate- rial, but not commercial entities intent on making profit through the commons without explicit reciprocity. See wiki.p2pfoundation.net/ Peer_Production_License
    2. org
    3. Stefan Rost, “Das Mietshäuser Syndikat,” in Silke Helfrich und Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Für eine neue Politik jenseits von Markt und Staat, transcript Verlag, 2012, pp. 285–287. band1.dieweltder commons.de/essays/stefan-rost-das-mietshauser-syndikat.Englishversion: patternsofcommoning.org/uncategorized/taking-housing-into-our-own- hands
    4. Interview with Jochen Schmidt, May 15,

     

     

    1. Rust, p. 285.
      1. Essential legal ideas were derived from Matthias Neuling, “Rechtsformen für Alternative Betriebe,” in Kritische Justiz, 1986), 309–326, avail- able at kj.nomos.de/fileadmin/kj/doc/1986/19863Neuling_S_309.pdf
      2. Jochen Schmidt interview, May 15,
      3. In the one case in which a building associated with Mietshäuser Syndikat was put back on the market, the reason was not a liquidation but inadequate financing to complete construction. For many reasons, the housing project never came into
      4. More details about solidarity transfers can be found at org/en/ solidarity_transfer
      5. Eric Raymond, The New Hacker’s Dictionary, 3rd Edition, MIT Press,
      6. Chad Perrin, “Hacker vs. Cracker,” TechRepublic, April 17, 2009. techrepublic.com/blog/it-security/hacker-vs-cracker
      7. Free/open source software has often displaced proprietary software, decommodifying specific market segments, even as it has also served as the basis for new types of software and service
      8. Trebor Scholz, “Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Sharing Economy,” Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office, January rosalux-nyc.org/wp-content/files_mf/scholz_platformcoop_5.9.2016. pdf. See also, Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider, Ours to Hack and Own, OR Books, 2017. orbooks.com/catalog/ours-to-hack-and-to-own
      9. res.in/tkdl
      10. org
      11. Professor Philip H. Howard, Michigan State University, tracks the concentration of the seed See his 2018 account: philhoward. net/2018/12/31/global-seed-industry-changes-since-2013 and his chart, “Seed Industry Structure, 1996–2018.”
      12. Pat Mooney, “Blocking the Chain: Industrial Food Chain Concentration, Big Data Platforms, and Food Sovereignty Solutions,” (ETC Group, October 2018). etcgroup.org/sites/www.etcgroup.org/files/files/block– pdf
      13. “Shrinkwrap” licenses and “click-through” licenses are one-sided con- tracts that the law regards as accepted by users when they break open the shrinkwrap around a software box or click on the website license for
      14. Johannes Kotschi and Klaus Rapf, “Liberating Seeds with an Open Source Seed License,” AGRECOL, July agrecol.de/files/OSS_ Licence_AGRECOL_eng.pdf

     

     

    1. Jack Kloppenburg, “Re-purposing The Master’s Tools: The Open Source Seed Initiative and the Struggle for Seed Sovereignty,” Journal of Peasant Studies,
    2. The full title is Association for AgriCulture and Ecology in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern
    3. org/en
    4. org
    5. Maywa Montenegro de Wit, “Beating the Bounds: How does ‘Open Source’ Become a Seed Commons?” Journal of Peasant Studies, 2017, 15.
    6. Jack Kloppenburg, “Enacting the New Commons: The Global Progress, Promise and Possibilities of Open Source Seed,” public presentation at the International Association for the Study of Commons Workshop, “Conceptualizing the New Commons: The Examples of Knowledge Commons & Seed and Variety Commons,” Oldenburg, Germany, June 6–8,
    7. Hiroyuki Kurokochi et , “Local-Level Genetic Diversity and Structure of Matsutake Mushroom (Tricholoma matsutake) Populations in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, Revealed by 15 Microsatellite Markers,” J. Fungi, 2017 June, 3(2): 23. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5715919
    8. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, Princeton University Press, 2015, 270.
    9. Saitoand Gaku Mitsumata,“Reviving Lucrative Matsutake Mushroom Harvesting and Restoring the Commons in Contemporary Japan,” paper presented at “Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges,” the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons, Cheltenham, England, July 14-18, 2008. dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/bitstream/handle/ 10535/1552/Saito_155501.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
    10. Tsing, Mushroom, p.
    11. Ibid, p.
    12. Saito and Mitsumata, p.
    13. Ibid, p
    14. Such auctioning systems also exist in China. Anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing reports from the Chinese province Yunnan, in the mountains of Chuxiong Prefecture, where matsutake is the most valuable forest product, that the “money gained from the auction is distributed to each household and forms an important part of its cash ” Tsing, pp. 268–269.
    15. Saito and

     

     

    1. Tsing, 271.
    2. About this topic, see Ulrich Steinvorth, Natürliche Eigentumsrechte, Gemeineigentum und geistiges Eigentum. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 52. 2004 (5), pp. 717–738.
    3. Saito and
    4. Tsing, 16.
    5. Ibid, p
    6. Ibid, p.
    7. Anatole France, Le Lys Rouge (The Red Lily),” 1894, Chapter
    8. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Verso,

     

    Chapter 9

    1. org/pdf/gares/ARES_34_68E.pdf
    2. It is also applied in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
    3. CNBC Transcript: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Speaks with Joe Kernen and CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ Today,” February 23, cnbc. com/2018/02/22/cnbc-transcript-u-s-commerce-secretary-wilbur- ross-speaks-with-joe-kernen-on-cnbcs-squawk-box-today.html. See also Wilbur Ross, “The Moon Colony Will Be a Reality Sooner Than You ftink,” The New York Times, May 24, 2018. nytimes.com/2018/05/24/ opinion/that-moon-colony-will-be-a-reality-sooner-than-you-think.html
    4. Rich Hardy, “Trump, the Lunar Economy, and Who Owns the Moon,” New Atlas, February 13, 2017. newatlas.com/who-owns-moon-trump- lunar-economy/47897
    5. Prue Taylor, “Common Heritage of Mankind Principle,” in Bosselmann, Klaus, Daniel Fogel and J. B. Ruhl, editors, Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: The Law and Politics of Sustainability, Berkshire Publishing Group, 2010, pp.64–69.
    6. The Ecuadorian Government in 2007 proposed forgoing half of its anticipated oil revenues from twenty percent of its oil deposits, or

    $3.6 billion, if international partners contributed that sum to help Ecuador explore non-fossil fuel development strategies. The pro- posal was intended as a pioneering climate-change initiative among “less developed” nations. Juan Falconi Puig, “The World Failed Ecuador in its Yasuni Initiative,” The Guardian, September 19, 2013. theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/sep/19/ world-failed-ecuador-yasuni-initiative

    1. Bob Jessop, as quoted in David Bollier, “State Power and Commoning: Transcending a Problematic Relationship,” report on a workshop con- vened by the Commons Strategies Group in cooperation with the

     

     

    Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2016, available at commonsstrategies.org/ state-power-commoning-transcending-problematic-relationship. See also Bob Jessop, State Power: A Strategic-Relational Approach, Polity, 2008, and Jessop, The State: Past, Present, Future (Key Concepts), Polity 2015.

    1. This national identity is, of course, Just as the Israeli gov- ernment invokes the tenets of Judaism to justify its policy, state power strengthens the utterances and the influence of religious institutions and Halakha (the collective body of Jewish religious laws derived from the Written and Oral Torah).
    2. swp-berlin.org/en/publication/israels-nation-state-law
    3. Hannah Arendt, “Nationalstaat und Demokratie,” transcribed remarks of a radio conversation with political scientist Eugen Kogon in Cologne, Germany, March 6, 1963, available at hannaharendt.net/index.php/ han/article/view/94/154
    4. Ramon Roca, “Landline Networks and the Commons,” YouTube video of European Parliament Workshop on Community Networks and Telecom Regulation, October 17, 2017, at youtube.com/watch? v=9Cu88NnigBU
    5. Geoff Mulgan, “Government With the People: The Outlines of a Relational State,” in The Relational State: How Recognising the Importance of Human Relationships Could Revolutionise the Role of the State, Graeme Cooke and Rick Muir, editors, Institute for Public Policy Research,
    6. Cooke and Muir, The Relational State. ippr.org/files/images/media/ files/publication/2012/11/relational-state_Nov2012_9888.pdf?no redirect=1 (Jovell’s short statement is on 61.)
    7. See, e.g., Ivan Illich, Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health, Pantheon, 1976; Deschooling Society, Harper & Row, 1971; and Tools for Conviviality, Harper & Row,
    8. Marc Stears, “The Case for a State that Supports Relationships, not a Relational State,” in Cooke and Muir, The Relational State.
    9. Peer to Peer Foundation, “Commons Transition Primer,” primer. commonstransition.org/archives/glossary/peak-hierarchy
    10. James Scott, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, Yale University Press, 2017), especially pp. 93–115, 150–182, and 232.
    11. Leviathan (1651) is a book written by ftomas Hobbes during the English Civil Hobbes theorizes about the structure of society and legitimate government, arguing for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Leviathan is regarded one of the most influential examples of social contract theory.

     

     

    1. Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Right for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Public Affairs,
    2. James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1998, p. 81–82.
    3. Marc Stears, “The Case for a State,” 39.
    4. See, e.g., Benjamin Barber, If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities, Yale University Press, 2014; and Barber’s TEDx Global Talk in 2013 at smart-csos.org/images/Documents/Systemic- Activism-in-a-Polarised-World.pdf
    5. Murray Bookchin, “Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview,” Green Perspectives, 24, October 1991. dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_ Archives/bookchin/gp/perspectives24.html
    6. Kate Shea Baird, “A New International Municipalist Movement is on the Rise — From Small Victories to Global Alternatives,” OpenDemocracy, June 7, 2017. opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/ new-international-municipalist-movement-is-on-rise-from-small-vic
    7. The term was coined by Italian designer Ezio Manzini and is explained at depth at the P2P Founation website at wiki.p2pfoundation.net/ Small,_Local,_Open_and_Connected_As_Way_of_the_Future
    8. Symbiosis Research Collective, “How Radical Municipalism Can Go Beyond the Local,” The Ecologist, June 8, theecologist.org/2018/ jun/08/how-radical-municipalism-can-go-beyond-local
    9. walbei.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/was-bleibt-vier-jahre-nach-der- protestbewegung-15-m-in-spanien/
    10. : Nikolai Huke: Politik der ersten Person. Chancen und Risiken am Beispiel der Bewegung 15-M in Spanien, in Sozial.Geschichte Online

    / Heft 21 / 2017, S. 226 https://duepublico.uni-duisburg-essen.de/ servlets/DerivateServlet/Derivate-44168/10_Huke_Politik.pdf

    1. David Bollier, “State Power and Commoning: Transcending a Problematic Relationship,” workshop report, Commons Strategies Group and Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2016. commonsstrategies.org/ state-power-commoning-transcending-problematic-relationship
    2. Sutterlütti, Simon and Stefan Meretz: Kapitalismus aufheben. Eine Einladung, über Utopie und Transformation neu nachzudenken, Eine Veröffentlichung der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, VSA Verlag, 2018, 76.
    3. Sutterlütti and Meretz, p.
    4. Hirsch, Joachim: Radikaler Reformismus, in Ulrich Brand, Bettina Lösch, Benjamin Opratko, Stefan ftimmel, editors, ABC der Alternativen 2.0, VSA Verlag, 2012, p. 182–183.

     

     

    1. Ibid, p. 182–183.
    2. Murray Bookchin, “Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview,” opening
    3. Fabian Scheidler, Das Ende der Megamaschine. Geschichten einer scheiternden Zivilisation, Promedia Verlag, 2015.
    4. K. Gibson-Graham, The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy, University of Minnesota Press, 1996/2006,
    5. xvi.
    6. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1958, p.
    7. Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the new Climate Regime, Polity,
    8. A chilling account of this political history can be found in Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: A Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Penguin,
    9. Jose Luis Vivero Pol, “Transition Towards a Food Commons Regime: Re-commoning Food to Crowd-feed the World,” Chapter 9 in Guido Ruivenkamp and Andy Hilton, editors, Perspectives on Commoning: Autonomist Principles and Practices, Zed Books, 2017. researchgate. net/publication/316877384_Transition_towards_a_Food_Commons_ Regime_Re-commoning_Food_to_Crowd-feed_the_World
    10. Ostrom, Governing the Commons, p.
    11. James C. Scott examines the highlands of five Southeast Asian nations, known as Zomia, as “the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples have not yet been fully incorporated into nation-states, in The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, Yale University Press, 2009, p.
    12. Scott, Against the Grain, pp 219–256.
    13. David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy, Melville House,
    14. Distributed ledger technologies consist of the many variations on the blockchain ledger pioneered by Bitcoin, but which now embody many different forms of social and political control over the resulting appli- cations such as digital currencies. Examples include the Holochain, Ethereum, and Fairchain (fair-coin.org/en/fairchains). See Chapter
    15. Time-banking may appear to replicate market values and tit-for-tat reciprocal exchange, but in practice people use time-banking less as a transactional currency than as a vehicle for assisting neighbors in need and building They Practice Gentle Reciprocity.
    16. Jens Kimmel, Till Gentzsch, and Sophie Bloemen, Urban Commons Shared Spaces, Commons Network & raumlaborberlin, November

     

     

    commonsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SharedSpaces CommonsNetwork.pdf

    1. eu/about-kening-fan-e-greide
    2. For example, old logging roads were decommissioned, timber was har- vestedinmoreecologicallyresponsibleways, andfishhabitatinstreamswas given greater David Bollier, “New Film Documentary, ‘Seeing the Forest,” May 5, 2015. bollier.org/blog/new-film-documentary-% E2%80%9Cseeing-forest%E2%80%9D
    3. David Bollier, “I Am the River, and the River is Me,” June 29, 2017. bollier.org/blog/i-am-river-and-river-me
    4. TheTe AwaTupua Act, signedon August 2014: nz/en/pb/bills- and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/00DBHOH_BILL68939_1/ te-awa-tupua-whanganui-river-claims-settlement-bill. See also David Bollier, “The Potato Park of Peru,” in Patterns of Commoning, 2015), pp. 103–107. patternsofcommoning.org/the-potato-park-of-peru.
    5. For infrastructures created and managed by commoners, “openness” is less critical than the ability of commoners to protect and maintain their infrastructures (e.g., Wi-Fi systems, information collections, ener- gy-sharing systems) in the face of businesses seeking to appropriate them and against vandals and other
    6. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, at nih.gov
    7. Open Commons Linz at opencommons.linz.at and at/ topic/open-commons_linz
    8. Wikipedia entry, “Freifunk,” at wikipedia.org/wiki/Freifunk
    9. These rights are not only covered by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 22 to 28 ) but also by the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural The ICESCR was adopted together with the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as part of the International Bill of Human Rights in 1966.
    10. This generation, even though difficult to enforce, is highly relevant to the commons as it includes group and collective rights, rights to self- determination, and communication
    11. Interestingly these documents stand in the legal tradition of the Magna Carta, into which the Charter of the Forest that guaranteed commoners’ use rights was

     

    Chapter 10

    1. cc/about and medium.com/wikihouse-stories/wikihouse- design-principles-47a49aec936d
    2. com/principles

     

     

    1. org
    2. org/article/people-sharing-resources-toward-a-new- multilateralism-of-the-global-commons/
    3. p2pfoundation.net/a-charter-for-how-to-build-effective-data-and- mapping-commons/2017/04/20
    4. org/?page_id=20
    5. Isabel Carlisle, “Community Charters,” Stir magazine, 9, Spring 2015, pp. 21–23.
    6. Falkirk Community faug.org.uk/campaign/community-charter
    7. For more about Barcelona en Comú, see wiki.p2pfoundation.net/ Barcelona_en_Com%C3%BA. For Code of Ethics: https://barcelona cat/sites/default/files/pdf/codi-etic-eng.pdf. Shock Plan: https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/pla-xoc_eng.pdf
    8. Tim Wu, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Knopf, 2010.
    9. Television critic Fred Friendly, cited by Wu, Master
    10. Primavera de Filippi, “Blockchain Technology Toward a Decentralized Governance of Digital Platforms?” in Anna Grear and David Bollier, The Great Awakening, Punctum Books,
    11. wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_credit
    12. Trent Lapinski, “WTF is Holochain: The Revolution Will Be Dis- tributed,” Hackernoon, April 4, hackernoon.com/wtf-is-holochain

    -35f9dd8e5908

    1. org/about
    2. Interview with Eric Harris-Braun, October 30,
    3. Interview with Fernanda Ibarra, November 30,
    4. Two leading organizations that have documented the failures of public/ private contracts are In the Public Interest (USA), at org, and We Own It (UK), at weownit.org.uk/privatisation-fails. In addition, see the In the Public Interest guidebook, “Understanding and Evaluating Infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships,” at inthepublic interest.org/guide-understanding-and-evaluating-infrastructure-public- private-partnerships-p3s
    5. The protocols are based on “field-experiments designed, analyzed and interpreted by LabGov in several Italian cities, together with 200+ global case studies and indepth investigations run in more than 100 cities from different geopolitical ” See labgov.city/co-city-protocol
    6. Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations: Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human \ Consciousness, Nelson Parker,

     

    1. Michel Bauwens and Yurek Onzia, “Commons Transitie Plan voor de stad Gent” (in Dutch), Commons Transition, June, 2017. cdn8-blog.p2p foundation.net/wp-content/uploads/Commons-transitieplan.pdf
    2. Soma K P and Richa Audichya, “Our Way of Knowing: Women Protect Common Forest Rights in Rajasthan,” Patterns of Commoning, 77–82. patternsofcommoning.org/our-ways-of-knowing-women- protect-common-forest-rights-in-rajasthan
    3. DNDi website, org
    4. org/diseases-projects
    5. org/about-dndi/business-model
    6. “$1 for 1 Life,” documentary film by Frédéric Laffont, youtube. com/watch?time_continue=565&v=aSU4y-DFwt8
    7. DNDi website, “Artesunate + amodiaquine (ASAQ) to treat malaria,” at https://www.dndi.org/achievements/asaq (website last updated January 2019).

     

    Appendix A

    1. A detailed description, including an ontological rationale and founda- tion, is given in Silke Helfrich, Lebensform Commons: Eine musterbasierte und ontologisch begründete Bestimmung, thesis for masters degree, Cusanus University, institute for Economy,
    2. Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, Books 1–4, The Phenomenon of Life, Routledge, 2001-2005.
    3. See, especially, Helmut Leitner, “Working with Patterns—An Introduction,” in David Bollierand Silke Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, Levellers Press, 2015, pp. 15–25. patternsofcommoning.org/working- with-patterns-an-introduction.
    4. In other words, the method has to overcome “methodological individu- alism,” as described in Chapter
    5. Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension, University of Chicago Press, 1966/2009.
    6. A pattern of commoning that works in one context, for example, could be an “antipattern” within a capitalist economic In other words, a pattern that works in one context does not necessarily work in very different contexts.
    7. In the diagram showing the process of gaining insight (p. 363), I call the moment of verbalization “prehension,” following Alfred North
    8. Questions that deviated from this rule such as, “Do you have rituals?” were immediately put in more precise forms, such as, “What rituals do you have? Please describe ”

     

     

    1. Specific patterns are more concrete than generic patterns, but are incor- porated into generic A pattern can be both specific and generic at the same time. This series of words may help illustrate this point: leaf

    → twig → branch → tree. A twig is specific in relation to the branch, and it is generic in relation to the leaf. The situation is similar with respect to patterns.

    1. On “prehending” and “feeling” as epistemological concepts, following Alfred North Whitehead and Christopher Alexander, see Silke Helfrich’s masters thesis, footnote
    2. Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein, Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksfahl-King, and Shlomo Angel, A Pattern Towns, Buildings, Construction, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. xiv.
    3. According to Ivan Illich, conviviality is individual freedom that is aware of its
    4. Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality, Harper and Row, 1973; and Andrea Vetter, “The Matrix of Convivial Technology: Assessing Technologies for Degrowth,” Journal of Cleaner Production, 197(2), October 2018, 1778–1786. researchgate.net/publication/314271426_The_Matrix_ of_Convivial_Technology_-_Assessing_technologies_for_degrowth
    5. This pattern may well be one level of abstraction above the other ones because it synthesizes them as a mode of production, Chris Giotitsas and Jose Ramos, A New Model of Production for a New Economy: Two Cases of Agricultural Communities, Source Network / New Economics Foundation, 2017

About the authors

David Bollier, author of Free Fair and Alive book

David Bollier is an activist, scholar, and blogger who is focused on the commons as a new/old paradigm for re-imagining economics, politics, and culture. He pursues his commons scholarship and activism as Director of the Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics and as cofounder of the Commons Strategies Group, an international advocacy project. Author of Think Like a Commoner and other books, he blogs at www.bollier.org, and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Silke Helfrich, author of Free Fair and Alive book

Silke Helfrich is an independent activist, author, scholar, and speaker. She cofounded the Commons Strategies Group and Commons-Institute, was former head of the regional office of Heinrich Böll Foundation for Central America, Cuba, and Mexico, and holds degrees in Romance languages/pedagogy and in social sciences. Helfrich is the editor and co-author of sev- eral books on the Commons, blogs at www.commons.blog, and lives in Neudenau, Germany.

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