In our age of predatory markets and make-believe democracy, our troubled political institutions have lost sight of real people and practical realities. But if you look to the edges, ordinary people are reinventing governance and provisioning on their own terms. The commons is arising as a serious, practical alternative to the corrupt Market/State.
The beauty of commons is that we can build them ourselves, right now. But the bigger challenge is, Can we learn to see the commons and, more importantly, to think like a commoner?
The Commons is among the most important and hopeful concepts of our time, and once you’ve read this book you’ll understand why!
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
The biggest “tragedy of the commons” is the misconception that commons are failures — relics from another era rendered unnecessary by the Market and State. Think Like a Commoner dispels such prejudices by explaining the rich history and promising future of the commons — an ageless paradigm of cooperation and fairness that is re-making our world.
With graceful prose and dozens of fascinating examples, David Bollier describes the quiet revolution that is pioneering practical new forms of self-governance and production controlled by people themselves. Think Like a Commoner explains how the commons:
We have a choice: Ignore the commons and suffer the ongoing private plunder of our common wealth. Or Think Like a Commoner and learn how to rebuild our society and reclaim our shared inheritance. This accessible, comprehensive introduction to the commons will surprise and enlighten you, and provoke you to action.
David Bollier has been exploring the commons as an author, policy strategist, international activist and blogger since the late 1990s. He has written and edited twelve books (sometimes with collaborators), including six on commons-related themes — Silent Theft; Brand Name Bullies; Viral Spiral; The Wealth of the Commons; Green Governance; and now Think Like a Commoner.
Bollier founded and edited the Onthecommons.org website (2003-2010) before co-founding the Commons Strategies Group, an international consulting project that assists the global commons movement. In 2002 he co-founded Public Knowledge, a Washington advocacy organization for the public’s stake in the Internet, telecom and copyright policies. The American Academy in Berlin awarded Bollier the Berlin Prize in Public Policy in 2012 for his work on the commons.
Bollier now works on a variety of commons projects with international and domestic partners. He blogs at Bollier.org and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
“David Bollier is a leading writer and advocate for all those real-life commons -- what we own, from the public lands, public airwaves, online information and local civic assets. He calls the commons a "parallel economy and social order that.... affirms that another world is possible. And more: we can build it ourselves, now.” (December 30, 2013)
"Bollier’s explanations, well supported by multiple examples, are so straightforward that even high school students will find this book easy to understand. As an introduction to a massive topic, this book serves admirably as a quick review, an informative tract, and an appetizer all at once." (Anna Call, February 27, 2014)
"Bollier synthesizes a diverse body of scholarship ranging from historical studies of medieval enclosures and contemporary land grabs, behavioural studies, orthodox and heterodox economic theories of value, legal studies of property, governance studies, [and more]....Mirroring his mastery of the commons scholarship is a remarkable breadth of examples of commoning practices....." (Danijela Dolonec, Group 22 Spring 2014 issue of STIR)