The financial and economic crisis brought both the markets and the nation states into a deep systemic crisis. The congress started from the premise that part of the solution to these crises will be found outside these systems and that the commons offer very promising prospects for developing new forms of partnerships between people, outside the usual borders of the market and even the state. The commons can contribute to establishing a progressive, forward looking green economy and can constitute a new source of political innovation, as they develop new concepts of cooperation, production and ownership.
The congress addressed questions as diverse as how can the theory of the commons and its practical implementation strengthen our societies and economies, or can the commons represent a credible alternative to globalisation.
Report of the symposium
This report outlines the main points of the different presentations given at the symposium, including several links for more information. As soon as the power-point presentations of the different speakers are available you will be able to download them from this page as well.
“The commons” is a very broad term that ranges from common-pool resources (e.g. fish stocks, coal) to public goods (e.g. soil, air, knowledge, culture), if managed in a non-excludable way inside a community (meaning, that one person using the good doesn’t exclude others from doing the same).
Introducing the topic, Tine de Moor (professor at Utrecht University) started with a brief overview on the history of the commons with many examples from Belgium. In the history of Europe commons have been a successful concept mostly used by rural communities to manage common goods - such as land - to the benefit of all. By working together they could share risks and spare costs while also having more of a weight in negotiations with the authorities than they would have had as single individuals...