David Bollier, “The Commons as a Template for Transformation”

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David Bollier’s essay “The Commons as a Template for Transformation” gives a good general overview of the visions and challenges of the idea of “commons” in grappling with the contemporary phenomenon of the radically economic socio-political aesthetic (commonly subsumed under the catch-all “Neo-Liberalism”). The hope being that commons can serve as a kind of corrective for what he calls a “pathological dependence on economic growth and its inability to set limits on the overexploitation and abuse of Earth’s natural systems”, to which i would add the reckless disregard for human health and safety, and the unbridled exploitation of labor.

As many other of us out there who are interested in attempting a more broad scoped, and reflected approach to our daily lives, i often ask myself what on earth could motivate large numbers of people to embrace one or another idea or behavior i presume might be of mutual benefit, and so i especially enjoy Bollier’s open statements of uncertainty such as the following:

Given the State’s current deep alliance with the Market, the State is not likely to embrace this idea with alacrity. However, given the deterioration of trust, efficacy, and legitimacy that now afflicts state and market institutions, the commons model has great potential because of its capacity to be more cost-effective, responsive, and socially equitable, and to be experienced as a more legitimate form of governance.

* Bollier, David: “The Commons as a Template for Transformation” in Great Transition Initiative, toward a transformative vision of praxis: February 2014 http://www.greattransition.org/document/the-commons-as-a-template-for-transformation (last viewed 19th March, 2014).