The Commons

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With private property ascendant, the fact that we have and need a huge amount of commons is often overlooked. Ecological services, the genetic commons, commons of language, government, infrastructure, society and many other things are very important to our daily lives. Regulated commons can also be a good substitute for private property where there are problems, for example airspace over property (which used to belong to the landowners.)


Acquisition from the Commons (1 link)
Libertarians often make moral arguments for acquisition from commons. But aquisition from the commons is as unilateral, involuntary and coercive as eminent domain. It ignores the fact that commons are actually usually managed, and ignores the fact that (historically) commons in Britain were acquired by governing nobles.
Environment (20 links)
Libertarians have no way of constraining damage to the environment or maintaining a healthy environment to live in. It is an issue they prefer to pretend does not exist, which is why global warming denialism is so popular among libertarians. Ecosystem services are estimated at over $125 trillion per year, yet libertarians and others usually ignore externalities (such as pollution, habitat destruction, and global warming) that reduce these services dramatically.
Local Commons (13 links)
Elinor Ostrom's real-world observed solutions to regulating commons without ownership. These require government protection of community rights to control the commons. This is not libertarian: no private property, and two levels of government.
The Genetic Commons (5 links)
Unregulated markets in antibiotics and pesticides select strongly for resistant genes, resulting in widespread resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. This is a classic tragedy of the commons, requiring regulation. Examples include DDT, MRSA, and resistance to RoundUp.
The Global Commons: An Introduction (book)
Tragedy Of The Commons (3 links)
The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently and rationally according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource. But there is only a tragedy of an UNREGULATED commons, as history has shown. Regulation is an obvious workable solution.


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