Status Report 5

“Pull back to a wide-angle view and one can see diverse strands of history, politics and commoning crystallizing into a coherent new paradigm.  Some of us dare to imagine a commons renaissance.  A recent book that I co-edited with Silke Helfrich, The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State, documents the staggering international breadth and vitality of commons activities and advocacy.  The commons can now be seen in German ecovillages and Chilean fisher commons; in thousands of open-access scientific journals; in an explosion of alternative currencies used by local communities; and in urban gardens that grow food and social connections.

“These developments bear witness to the reality made abundantly clear by the 2008 financial crisis, that the prevailing dogmas of market individualism, private property rights and neoliberal economics cannot, and will not, deliver the kind of change we need.  And yet the traditional advocates of reform, liberals and social democrats, while generally concerned with market abuses and government malfeasance, are themselves too exhausted to imagine new paths forward.  They are too indentured to the Market/State mindset and cultural outlook, and too naive or spineless in the face of finance capital, to entertain new forms of governance and institutional innovation.  Contemporary liberals and social democrats may pretend to want ambitious social and political transformation (“Change We Can Believe In,” etc.), but the harsh political truth is that they are content to muddle through and cling to the sinecures of power.”

–David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner, p.7.

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