Thinking About the Commons
International Journal of the Commons (2019, Forthcoming)
25 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2019
Date Written: 2019
This article, originally a speech in the conference, Leçons de Droit Comparé sur les Communs, Sciences-Po, Paris, explores current developments in theoretical thinking about the commons. It keys off contemporary reconsiderations of Garret Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” and Elinor Ostrom’s response to Hardin in Governing the Commons and later work. Ostrom was among the best-known critics of Hardin’s idea of a “tragedy,” but Ostrom’s own work has also raised some questions in more recent commons literature. One key question is the very uncertain relationship between community-based resource control and democratic rights. A second key question revolves around the understanding of commons on the one hand as limited common regimes, central to Ostrom’s work, or as open access, as espoused by more recent advocates of widespread access to information and communications networks.
Keywords: commons, Garrett Hardin, Elinor Ostrom, open access, limited commons, democratic governance network effects, collective action, copyleft, information networks
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