The Commons

April                                                   2017

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”

                                                                                                  Lao Tzu

Bullies and Billionaires

The Wealth of Planet Earth is all around us, lush, ripe and sustaining. Humans evolved with the whole world our Commons. Then someone took more than their share and poverty was born. Someone somehow convinced others that they deserved more, and more and more, usually by means of force or guile. These bullies weren’t satisfied with a second piece of the pie, they wanted it all. Then they blame those who are suffering for their own plight.

We need a new way to divide the ‘pie’, the heritage of planet Earth.

For too long the commons have been defined by the story told by Garrett Hardin in his 1968 essay in the journal Science entitled The Tragedy of the Commons. The research of Elinor Ostrom shows us that Hardin was wrong. We must reject false narratives that limit our cultural design choices for building that Bright Future we know we all want.

 Wes Jackson asks; “What does it mean to live with limits?. How are we going to meet human needs in a no-growth economy? … We have to ask questions that don’t have answers yet… If you asking a question that has an answer there’s a good chance you’re asking the wrong question”

 This month our offering of ideas and opinions for a Sustainable Future includes: Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Mary Berry at the 36th Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures. You can find out what Garrett Hardin really meant by his Tragedy of the Commons story. The late Elinor Ostrom answers questions about the successful management of common-pool-resources by real people.

Check out the Left Libertarian’s perspective, a synthesis of the ideas of state ownership and management and private property ownership. What emerges is a self managed commons instead of state managed property and personal possession replacing private property ownership.






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