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the common, public domain, management of commons, governance of commons, private property, intellectual property, biopiracy, copyright, knowledge commons, gift economy.


Research networks[edit]

  • Reimagining Society Project, participants are generating a vast outpouring of content bearing upon vision for a new society and strategy to attain the aims. Hosted by Z Communications
  • Edu-Factory
  • The Commoner
  • On The Commons (formerly Tomales Bay Institute), a network of citizens and organizations that champions the cause of the commons. Maintained by David Bollier and many others.
  • Factory of the Common, a network of research events that explore the dimension of the ‘common’ and its institutions in times of financial crisis and cognitive capitalism. This network aims to syndicate a new generation of autonomous studies across Europe in order to provide the basis for a constituent research centre. Maintained by Matteo Pasquinelli and Paolo Do as an international syndication platform in collaboration with Edufactory, Uninomade, institutional partners such as Queen Mary University of London and other initiatives of autonomous research.
  • P2P Foundation
  • Esse, Nosse, Posse: Common Wealth for Common People platform presents: artists’ projects commenting on the new forms of networked economy; initiatives and open platforms by independent artists based on free and open software, exchange and collaboration; statements and texts by researchers, critics, theorists discussing art, networks and economy. Curated by Daphne Dragona


  • Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons", 1968.
    To make the case for "no technical solutions", Hardin notes the limits placed on the availability of energy (and material resources) on Earth, and also the consequences of these limits for "quality of life". To maximize population, one needs to minimize resources spent on anything other than simple survival, and vice versa. A hypothetical example of a pasture shared by local herders: an individual herder will continue to add additional animals to his or her herd; however, since all herders reach the same rational conclusion, overgrazing and degradation of pasture is its long-term fate. Examples of latter day "commons" include the atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, national parks, advertising, and even parking meters. Potential management solutions include privatization, polluters' fees, and regulation. The metaphor illustrates the argument that free access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately dooms the resource through over-exploitation.
  • Michael Hardt, "Politics of the Common", 2009.
    Hardt offers a summary of current debates about the commons. The immaterial property and the common moved into centre of contemporary production that is shifting away from industrial capitalist mobile/immobile commodity properties. Today the capital and economic development paradoxically relies on the common, and the central task for contemporary society is to develop an alternative management of the common. The common includes the ecological (earth, ecosystems, and all forms of life interacting with them) and social/cultural (shared products of human labor–ideas, images, affects, social relationships) domains. These two domains are often treated separately, however Hardt identifies two major instances of contradictions that link them: the contradiction between private property and the common; and the fact that the value of common is immeasurable with the traditional capitalist system of measures (it is rather based on the value of life, which we have not yet invented).
  • Slavoj Zizek, "Ecology: A New Opium of the Masses", 2007.
    Zizek extends the concept of commons as outlined by Hardt and Negri to include culture, external nature (ecology) and internal nature (biogenetics). It is necessary to involve minorities in the commons--those excluded from political process.
art and activism
  • Ines Doujak, Victory Gardens, 2007. [1]
    The installation by Vienna-based artist criticizes American and European biopiracy--the privatisation of public assets (water, land) in the countries of "mega diversity" (Mexico, India, Brazil, Indonesia). Hardt: I object to calling this piracy, by the way, because pirates at least have the dignity to steal property. These corporations steal the common and transform it into private property.
  • Yes Men, Dow Does the Right Thing, 2004. [2]
    Impersonating a Dow Chemical spokesman on BBC, "Jude Finisterra" promises a huge compensation for the thousands of victims of the Bhopal disaster in which Dow Chemical's subsidiary Union Carbide India was responsible for in 1984.

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

Copyright activism, FLOSS