State of the Commons
June 20, 2004 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Reviving the Commons. The commons are the range of resources that the American public collectively owns, but which are often mismanaged by government or privatized ("enclosed") by corporations. An excellent report on "The State of the Commons 2003/04" (PDF) was prepared for the Friends of the Commons by the Tomales Bay Institute. The principle of the commons in Western common law was first codified in the Magna Carta, and was previously discussed on MeFi here. [Via I-Merge.]
posted by homunculus (3 comments total)
Commons principles are badly misunderstood by popularizers and activitists.

The Commons per se were never a business-free or profit-free zone. Much the opposite is true: commons were by their nature commercial -- a place provided by the government where everyone could advance their private pecuniary interests by personal use of publicly-owned resources.

The inherent difficulty in regulating this kind of use, or preventing the destruction of the commons by overuse in this fashion (i.e., the "Tragedy of the Commons"), was a basic challenge facing policy makers who confronted a modernizing economy.
posted by MattD at 1:01 PM on June 20, 2004

Commons principles are badly misunderstood by popularizers and activitists.

I wonder if they misunderstand them or if they're more reinterpreting them to suit their agenda. Either way, I think the possibility of the destruction of the commons are more serious, and challenge of regulating them more complex, then they ever before, so I'm sympathetic to that agenda.
posted by homunculus at 11:33 PM on June 20, 2004

Soon they will be called the Un-Commons.

Commons, community, enlightened self-interest, whatever you call it, Che Gueverra said it: "community must take precedence over man", I believe it, that settles it.

nofundy- "Who's there?"
MIB- "DOJ, Asscroft wants you down at Gitmo."
nofundy- "But why?"
MIB- "You're a damn troublemaking commmie pinko terraist."
posted by nofundy at 4:56 AM on June 21, 2004

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