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Paying Attention to The Commons

April 9, 2011

The MasterNewMedia Blog helps to explain the Commons. The Commons is something that is shared. Something that does not belong to anyone in particular. Something that has its own community of participants or users. The Commons can even belong to the whole world. The Corner House thinks “The commons is neither private nor public: neither business firm nor state utility, neither jealously guarded private plot nor national or city park.”

There are licenses to protect these Commons, such as the General Public License and the Creative Commons License which generally stipulate that you can use a medium and change it but that if a change takes place it will become part of the Commons.

Wikipedia is the textbook standard example for the Commons. It is essentially an archive of information, like an encyclopedia, which allows users to add or edit the entries.

The Commons has stretched to the business world and intellectual capital. The notion of shared resources, ideas, and markets under the capitalist framework seems to have caused some concern amoungst economists and business analysts.

James Quilligan argues  that “[t]hese evolving dynamics — the decommodification of common goods through co-governance and the deterritorialization of value through co-production — are shattering the liberal assumptions which underlie state capitalism. The emergence of this new kind of management and valuation for the preservation of natural and social assets is posing a momentous crisis for the Market State, imperiling the functional legitimacy of state sovereignty, national currencies, domestic fiscal policy, international trade and finance, and the global monetary system.” Quilligan believes a shift will occur to accomodate for the Commons which will threaten capitalism as we know it.

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