The logic of the commons to build global citizenship and global justice at multiple levels and scales.
The commons can be seen as a social system that intimately associates people or stakeholders with their resources and the participatory and mindful ways they are managing/producing/caring for them.
Commons can be described in a variety of ways and along several dimensions. The three below function together as a whole:
• As object, the commons are the Common Wealth, the assets that we inherit or create, use and change, and that serve our livelihood (our natural, social and cultural resources, genetic and biological diversity, knowledge, etc), that people pass on to future generations. These assets need to be nurtured, (re)generated and to be indiscriminately accessible to the greatest number. They must therefore be protected against capture, over-exploitation, depletion and abuse.
• As practice, the commons are the Common Ethos of which people are an integral part; the culture and the relationships they build with each other, with their resources and with the earth, the ways of being and doing in common (caring, sharing, nurturing, replenishing our common assets with discernment, transparency, empathy, equity, justice, mindfulness…). This practice critically depends on sustained and adaptive know-how, on increased knowledge flows, and continuous collaboration and learning including ways of working together on problem solving. This practice takes multiple forms and names. Sustainable living and development is one of them.
• As result, the commons are the Common Good, the outcomes of the practice (access, capacity, well being, quality of life, prosperity, abundance). They are the life blood of the process, those that make the world thrive, and become in turn assets to nurture…
Because of the relationships and interactions between these various elements, the commons are generative systems, which provide the tangible conditions that empower and enable communities in relation to their purpose and to the ecological contexts they find themselves in, at various levels and scales.
From this perspective, commons may serve as a medium for accelerating the adoption of sustainable practices that address social, environmental and economic dimensions in a sustainable, cohesive and interconnected manner. They can also serve as a vetting system to assess the impact of sustainability policies and practices.
Thus nurturing, and growing the commons in all their dimensions and manifestations can serve as a guiding vision for global citizenship and global justice.
Helene Finidori commented
In reply to a question on reclaiming the commons by someone related to the Commons Abundance Network: Global Citizenship can indeed materialize at multiple levels and scales in a subsidiary manner around various forms of existing or reclaimed commons. Each learning to live in awareness of each other.
Helene Finidori commented
You are absolutely right Joachim. I haven't insisted enough here, but the power of the commons is that it allows this diversity by construction, as there are so many ways to care for so many different manifestations of commons.
This is something I have developed in the Learning and Linking sections, developed here:
And also in this presentation I gave at the "Imagine the common good" conference last August in Paris: http://www.slideshare.net/helenefinidori/imagine-thecommongoodconf2013
Joachim Lohkamp commented
I like to look at it from the perspective that the individual is the source of creative power/energy… uniformication has a limiting effect while authentic diversity enhances the creative learning and production capabilities of each human… I'm saying this, because if we would see Commons in the sense of uniforming things, processes and people it would go into a wrong direction. The Commons are more beneficial seen as a pool that each individual can draw from to add her/his own creative power/energy to add value through a production process.
Another aspect is the flow of value and resources. Flow in itself creates value and efficiency, and is essential to any healthy system.
This connects well to the environmental aspect, looking at resources and nature not in the limited way of exploitation, but understanding the underlying principle of a natural circulative flow, life-cycles, re-cycling.
To go beyond the trap of the Commons, often described as "the death of the commons", these points appear to be vital.