Introduction into Defining the Commons

real democracy now!

This is the working version of first chapter of an essay “Obstacles and opportunities for ‘sustainable’ commons using Internet”. Please do not quote. The next chapter will be published when it is finished.

Fuzziness about the commons paradigm

A first step in the process towards interdisciplinary research on the commons is cleaning up the terminological fuzziness about them. For historians like Susan Jane Buck Cox and Tine De Moor, and for political economists like Elinor Oström, the commons are well defined as a historical phenomenon or as “Common Pool Resources” and “Institutions of Collective Action”. In many other disciplines the term is used for the air, the seas etc. that are in principle collective property to all creatures living on earth.

Plan_mediaeval_manor

Large-scale open access resources such as oceans, the air we are breathing, are, also referred to as “global commons”. This is confusing of course, because what is lacking to…

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