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The Future of the Commons

Created date

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 07:58

Twenty-one thinkers and activists from around the world gathered at
Crottorf Castle near Cologne, Germany, on June 25-27, 2009, to discuss
their shared interest in the commons as a new paradigm of politics,
economics and culture. It was a meeting without an explicit agenda, yet
one that yielded extraordinarily rich results: a clearer sense of how a new
discourse of the commons might be developed; how it could be used to
confront the savage pathologies of neoliberalism; and how it could serve
as a proto-political philosophy for building more eco-friendly,
humanistic forms of self-governance.

What follows is a selective and partial distillation of the discussions. It
is compiled from my notes and memory, and therefore reflects my
personal perceptions of the event. Quotations below have been
reconstructed from notes, and not a transcript, so they are approximate
and not necessarily verbatim. Because I wanted to keep this report fairly
succinct and focus on the commons paradigm itself, I have given only
brief treatments of many conversations that deserve lengthier treatments
in themselves. These topics include the biotech industry’s enclosure of
seeds, nanotechnology and the privatization of basic elements of matter;
the Google Books project that is digitizing the books of university
libraries; the South African government’s repression of squatters and
other commoners; as well as the hopeful activities of the Solidarity
Economy movement and the Transition Towns movement. I have also
taken liberties in the ordering of topics and themes, which were not
discussed in the same sequence of this text. A list of participants and
suggested readings are included as appendices.

Attached files pdf_009._Bollier_Crottorf_-_The_Future_of_the_Commons.pdf ( B)