This publication brings together a number of contributions that were made at a day-long seminar held in Brussels in 2012 on the subject of the commons, organised by GEF, together with the Belgian Green foundations Etopia and Oikos.
The term “commons” is gaining increasing currency in political debates today, as thinkers and activists look for alternatives to what appears to be the failing model of the market economy. While many people have a broad idea of what the commons are – a means of co-managing a resource for the community as a whole – what does it mean in practice? And where and when can the idea of a commons be applied?
Many of these issues were discussed at the GEF seminar earlier this year. Since the idea of the commons was reintroduced to the public debate by the likes of Elinor Ostrom, many new forms of commons have become viable. An example discussed at the seminar was the idea of genetics and DNA as a type of commons.