Destroying the Commons
by Noam Chomsky
: "The Charter of the Forest
demanded protection of the commons from external power. The commons were the source of sustenance for the general population: their fuel, their food, their construction materials, whatever was essential for life. The forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully developed over generations
, maintained in common
, its riches available to all, and preserved for future generations -- practices found today primarily in traditional societies that are under threat throughout the world."
The Charter of the Forest imposed limits to privatization. The Robin Hood myths capture the essence of its concerns (and it is not too surprising that the popular TV series of the 1950s, "The Adventures of Robin Hood," was written anonymously by Hollywood screenwriters blacklisted for leftist convictions). By the seventeenth century, however, this Charter had fallen victim to the rise of the commodity economy and capitalist practice and morality. previously
With the commons no longer protected for cooperative nurturing and use, the rights of the common people were restricted to what could not be privatized, a category that continues to shrink to virtual invisibility.
. "The story of the extraction of natural resources and limiting indigenous people's access to land is repeated around the world... The indigenous voice from the jungle invokes the Magna Carta not only to assert the familiar protections against state power associated with constitutional democracies, but the right to common resources as well."
The Growth Of Monopoly Power
- "The economic defense of capitalism is premised on the ubiquity of competitive markets, providing for the rational allocation of scarce resources and justifying the existing distribution of incomes. The political defense of capitalism is that economic power is diffuse and cannot be aggregated in such a manner as to have undue influence over the democratic state. Both of these core claims for capitalism are demolished if monopoly, rather than competition, is the rule."
. "Both parties, but Republicans especially
, mostly spend their time protecting not the free market, as they insist, but big business interests. This is decidedly not the same thing
, and it might well be that three or four vertically integrated giants in practically every industry isn't really all that good for the rest of us. This is just a thought, but in the long run, maybe competition really is a good thing
When paltry growth, systemic risk and resource scarcity are darkening the global horizon
- "work needs to intensify on finding innovative 'new growth' firms with environmentally sustainable and efficient long-term strategies as well as high scores on governance and regulatory sensitivity... First is that governments will eventually need to regulate to find a sustainable balance
and markets will lean that way too. Second, financial systems will then reward companies with efficient processes and resource usage. And third, companies that innovate to solve these problems will be winners."