Commons

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LOOKING FOR COORDINATORS FOR THIS GROUP to hold meetings and progress the conversation. Contact volunteer@occupyboston.org (terra) or mike ippolito or anyone from the SPP group where this discussion started, to get the background.

This working group is to discuss what we, as a community, think is or should be considered "Common Property", property of "the citizens"

Here's a summary of PermaCulture's work on The Commons: http://permaculture.tv/governing-the-commons-the-evolution-of-institutions-for-collective-action-by-elinor-ostrom/

"The commons is a general term for shared resources in which each stakeholder has an equal interest. Studies on the commons include the information commons with issues about public knowledge, the public domain, open science, and the free exchange of ideas — all issues at the core of a direct democracy.

Common-pool resources (CPRs) are natural or human-made resources where one person’s use subtracts from another’s use and where it is often necessary, but difficult and costly, to exclude other users outside the group from using the resource..

The majority of the CPR research to date has been in the areas of fisheries, forests, grazing systems, wildlife, water resources, irrigation systems, agriculture, land tenure and use, social organization, theory (social dilemmas, game theory, experimental economics, etc.), and global commons (climate change, air pollution, transboundary disputes, etc.), but CPR’s can also include the broadcast spectrum."

They reference: http://www.cooperationcommons.com/node/361

And then Elinor Ostrom's book,[Governing the commons: the evolution of institutions for collective action]

Here's the summary posted on the Permaculture site:

The governance of natural resources used by many individuals in common is an issue of increasing concern to policy analysts. Both state control and privatization of resources have been advocated, but neither the state nor the market have been uniformly successful in solving common pool resource problems.

After critiquing the foundations of policy analysis as applied to natural resources, Elinor Ostrom here provides a unique body of empirical data to explore conditions under which common pool resource problems have been satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily solved. Dr. Ostrom first describes three models most frequently used as the foundation for recommending state or market solutions.

She then outlines theoretical and empirical alternatives to these models in order to illustrate the diversity of possible solutions. In the following chapters she uses institutional analysis to examine different ways–both successful and unsuccessful–of governing the commons. In contrast to the proposition of the tragedy of the commons argument, common pool problems sometimes are solved by voluntary organizations rather than by a coercive state. Among the cases considered are communal tenure in meadows and forests, irrigation communities and other water rights, and fisheries.

[And Wikipedia's entry]

Traditionally focused on the environment, the definition has grown to include many things, has yet to be worked by Occupy Boston. Here are some ideas, please add to the list as you/we think of ideas:

- water
- air
- history
- historic neighborhood character
- radio waves
- internet access
- playground space
- school capacity

The overall intent of this group, when it was started was to think about how to define both the concept of Commons, as well as the individual items. For example, is "all internet access" considered common? Only "basic internet access"?

A nice article about "Reclaiming the Commons": http://bostonreview.net/BR27.3/bollier.html . This article goes into the vast array of things that can be considered "public property", and the reasons why the term "commons" is so foreign to us. We're so conditioned to think in terms of people extracting value from our communities, that we're not used to thinking about why this might be wrong.

Writings from SPP group [(source)]

GOALS:

THE COMMONS / ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

IDENTIFY and DEFINE what is COMMON PUBLIC PROPERTY.

PRESERVE and RENEW OUR "PUBLIC" SPACES, RESOURCES, and NETWORKS.

DEMAND PERSONAL FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION and SUPPORT ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS to ACHIEVE FAIRNESS in public and common life.

What we all own together, whose scarce contents have been exploited by the 1% (indeed, almost by definition: one of the easiest ways to become rich has always been to latch onto a commons and exploit it as hard as you can). This framework tackles problems facing the whole country and the whole world while being rooted in ideas most people will understand and approve of.

Commons goods and knowledge: owned by everyone, present and future, but finite and subject to depletion. Our legal system currently (as you on the subject of nature having rights or not) fails to account for commons. In a system that does account for commons, they are rivalrous but non-excludable: once you've charged someone to enter the park gate, you can't stop them from doing mostly what they please within. Ex: forests, waterways, mines, oil wells, pollution capacities of nature, municipalities (land-value property tax is commons rent on a municipality), and also various metaphorical "places" such as stock exchanges. Some commons are everyday things we all use: public schools, universities, and transportation systems we all rely on.

Every tool created by the human race, as a function of the greater interconnection of the observable Universe, should be considered common property. Education and information should be free, as well as the proper needs of life which are food, water, shelter, and health care. Transportation should be free, and should be considered a subject of information, because humans are social and intellectual beings operating by their complex chemical framework. The human race has the technological capacity to build such a community, but only if they are willing to become a non-warring species. --OneKarma 04:40, 18 November 2011 (EST)

Other Resources

[OnTheCommons.org]

[[http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-**505245_162-57470943/texas-** judge-rules-atmosphere-air-is-**public-trust/ Texas Judge Rules in favor of air as being part of The Commons]]