On the Transition to a Commons-Based Economy

An interview with Commons Transition first published at CommonsTransition.org and republished under a Peer Production, P2P Attribution-ConditionalNonCommercial-ShareAlikeLicense.

Can you define Commons Transition, tell us what it means to you?

Chris: To me, a commons transition speaks to the process of communities progressively controlling and self-governing more and more of their collective resources, by and for themselves and future generations. The “transition” implies that we are moving from one system of organizing society – in this case, global capitalism – to a wholly distinct socio-ecological paradigm rooted in age-old practices referred to as “the commons.” What’s particularly interesting about this transition is that, in many ways, it’s a return to principles of managing our homes that evolved over millennia before the onslaught of industrial capitalism. Our contemporary context is obviously much different from the indigenous and peasant cultures that sustained commons-based societies for thousands of years, but we have much to learn from them in how to undertake this transition.

I think this Commons Transition involves both a confrontation with the forces of neoliberalism – the ideology of privatization and commodification of common resources – and a flourishing of economic and political practices deeply rooted in the diverse cultures and ecologies of communities around the world. It’s ultimately about a movement toward the collective management of our common wealth, and ensuring that everyone shares access to and decision-making about the resources they depend on to thrive.

Can you share with us some examples of Commons transitions? Continue reading

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