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Reviving the Commons for the Benefit of all

October 15, 2010 19:30

Tagged as: commons land talk

International Community Centre, 61b Mansfield Road, Nottingha, NG1 3FN

Places: icc nottingham

Politics of the 21st Century – Reviving the Commons for the Benefit of all - Propertisation without Privatisation

A talk with powerpoints followed by a discussion –

7.30pm Friday 15th October (World Commons Day)

THE COMMONS, n., gifts of nature and society; the wealth we inherit or create together and must pass on, undiminished or enhanced, to our children.

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steals the goose from off the common
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose

English Folk Song 1750


Land, the atmosphere, the oceans, radio waves, the money system, the arts and science, the internet are all commons. No one created the land beneath our feet, the earth's atmosphere, electromagnetic spectrum, fisheries. Cultural or knowledge commons are human products but collective ones – each artist or scientist adds a small contribution to what many others have already done.

When society encloses and abuses common resources for privatised gain the result is overuse and degradation of natural commons - like the earth's atmosphere when too much carbon fuel is burned. On the other hand cultural and knowledge commons are under-used because corporations, funding incremental contributions to the arts, science and culture, then try to restrict use in order to charge royalties - impoverishing the processes whereby arts, culture, knowledge and science are disseminated and co-created.

Rentiers abuse commons by privatising what they did not create. 0.3% of Britains own 63% of the land - and land rents are a charge for the amenity value of the sites they own – ie for the convenience of access to roads, commuter rail links, city commercial centres, to schools, hospitals, policing, lighting, public management arrangements - none of which are provided by landowners who nevertheless cash in by charging for assess to collective amenities.

In this talk ecological economist Brian Davey will demonstrate how many problems can be traced back to the mismanagement of common resources and argue for a new politics for the commons. What can be done given that rentier interests are so influential behind the scenes in the political system?