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  • ‘Libres, dignos, vivos’: The Spanish Edition of ‘Free, Fair & Alive’ Is Published

    Silke and I are excited about deepening the conversation about the commons in Spain and Latin America with a Spanish translation of Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons – Libres, dignos, vivos: el poder subversivo de los comunes. The book will be published this week in Spain by Editorial Icaria; in…

  • Ontology as a Hidden Driver of Politics

    One of the big epiphanies that I had in writing Free, Fair and Alive with Silke Helfrich, was that a lot of political disagreements are not just about law, politics, or economics. They reflect fundamental clashes of worldviews. They are disputes about how human beings should or can relate to each other and to nature, and what…

  • Lessons from the Pandemic: Three Notable Essays

    One of the most difficult things to endure in this pandemic, apart from the biophysical threat of Covid-19 itself, is the evaporation of meaning. Familiar institutions and norms are being revealed as dysfunctional or anti-social, leaving us in a fog of disorientation. Can the old, familiar narratives about “free markets” and a (seemingly) benign state…

  • How the coronavirus is forcing us to think beyond market and state

    The Corona crisis demonstrated in fast motion the dilemma into which market-state-thinking leads. This is where commons come into play, i.e. what people do and are able to do with each other in a self-determined, self-organised, needs-oriented manner and without any marketing interest. If this article were a sonata, its minor key would show us…

  • The Frontier Beyond Open Access Publishing? Commoning

    For nearly twenty years, the idea of “openness” for Internet content has been seen as the gold standard for progressive scholarship. If content can be freely shared, goes the thinking, then it will improve the quality of our scholarly and scientific inquiry, democratic debate, and cultural creativity. It will empower individuals and yield a richer…

  • Black Commons, Community Land Trusts, and Reparations

    African Americans have long been victimized by the theft of their land, labor, and the ability to buy land as they wish. Following the Civil War, few former slaves actually received the 40 acres and a mule promised them, and in later decades, all sorts of discriminatory federal policies and bank lending practices made it…

  • The Pandemic as a Catalyst for Institutional Innovation

    The following essay is adapted from a talk given on May 5 at Radical May, a month-long series of events hosted by a consortium of fifty-plus book publishers, including my own publisher, New Society Publishers. My talk — streamed and later posted on YouTube here — builds on two previous blog posts. As the pandemic continues, it…

  • Announcing a New Podcast, ‘Frontiers of Commoning’

    I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast series, Frontiers of Commoning, which is a project of the Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. Every month I plan to host a lively conversation with creative pioneers who are demonstrating new ways of commoning. In my travels over the years,…

  • Let the Institutional Innovation Begin! (Part I)

    In covid-19, neoliberal capitalism has met a formidable foe. The pandemic has shown just how fragile and dysfunctional the market/state order — as a production apparatus, ideology, and culture — truly is. Countless market sectors are now more or less collapsing with a highly uncertain future ahead. With a few notable exceptions, government responses to…

  • Commoning as a Pandemic Survival Strategy

    The pandemic now sweeping the planet is one of those historic events that will change many basic premises of modern life. Let us act swiftly to deal with the emergencies, but let us also seize the opportunity to think about long-term system change. If there is one thing that the pandemic confirms (in tandem with…