David Bollier on Writer’s Voice With Francesca Rhiannon
For the vast majority of human history, the dominant economic system was the commons. In fact, many anthropologists believe that it was our ability to cooperate in using shared resources that drove our evolution, including the development of language.
So how did such a fundamental mode of human behavior fall into such disuse — and even ill repute? We hear a lot about the “tragedy of the commons” and nothing about its incredible success, even where practiced in our capitalism-dominated world. And just as an aside — what about the tragedy of private enterprise? You don’t have to look very far to see how putting private profits over social needs is bringing us to the brink of planet-wide disaster.
David Bollier is at the forefront of the modern commoning movement. He was part of the first effort to establish an international legal framework for the commons and is the author of several previous books about the movement. We’ve talked with him about some of them previously on this show.
Bollier’s new book, co-edited with Silke Helfrich, is Patterns of Commoning. Collecting contributions from Commoners around the world, it richly demonstrates the vitality of the movement and its expansion into multiple arenas, from seed banking to free and open source software.
The book covers neighborhood commons, both urban and rural (like the Potato Park of Peru, pictured above); arts and culture commons, technology commons, exchange and credit commons and biocultural commons. In its pages, a new, more convivial and sustainable means of organizing our economy comes to life.