” (…) It has also always been my belief that democracy should involve much more than simply having free elections and then delegating all responsibility to professional politicians. We need to radically democratise the political, social and economic sphere — and we need a framework for doing so which is beyond both the market and the state. That, in my view, is precisely what the commons is all about.
The commons is not a thing or a resource. It’s not just land or water, a forest or the atmosphere. For me, the commons is first and foremost constant social innovation. It implies a self-determined decision making process (within a great variety of contexts, rules and legal settings) that allows all of us to use and reproduce our collective resources.
The commons approach assumes that the right way to use water, forests, knowledge, code, seeds, information, and much more, is to ensure that my use of those resources does not harm anybody else’s use of them, or deplete the resources themselves. And that implies fair-use of everything that does not belong to only one person.
It’s about respect for the principle “one person — one share”, especially when we talk about the global commons. To achieve this we need to build trust, and strengthen social relationships, within communities.
Our premise is that we are not simply “homo economicus” pursuing only our own selfish interests. The core belief underlying the commons movement is: I need the others and the others need me.
There is no alternative today.