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Think Like a Commoner [Paperback]

David Bollier

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Book Description

17 April 2014
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 stories, David Bollier describes the quiet revolution that is pioneering practical forms of self-governance and production controlled by people themselves. Think Like a Commoner explains how the commons: * Is an exploding field of DIY innovation ranging from Wikipedia and seed-sharing to community forests, collaborative consumption, and beyond * Challenges the standard narrative of market economics by explaining how cooperation generates significant value and human fulfillment * Provides a framework of law and social action that can help us move beyond the pathologies of neoliberal capitalism 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 is an author, activist, blogger, and independent scholar. He is the author of six books on different aspects of the commons, including Green Governance, The Wealth of the Commons, and Viral Spiral, and is a frequent speaker at conferences, colleges and universities, and policy workshops.

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Think Like a Commoner + Stop, Thief! : The Commons, Enclosures, And Resistance (Spectre) + Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism
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Review

"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 Deep Economy 'Think Like a Commoner is a brilliant, accessible, practical, path-breaking intellectual tour de force. A defining contribution to the New Economy movement and an essential read for everyone who cares about the human future. I expect to return to it as a basic reference for years to come. ---David Korten, author, Agenda for a New Economy, board chair YES! Magazine, and co-chair, New Economy Working Group Foreword Review -- Spring 2014, Anna Call February 27, 2014 Straightforward political and business models for a reconciliation of natural resources opens the door for social activists and common armchair readers alike. Think Like a Commoner is a brief history and explanation of the commons, which are mutually held, collectively managed property. Though this concept may seem alien to modern eyes, managing commons is a long-held tradition that has included forests, water, air, and other natural resources that technically don't belong to anyone. David Bollier describes the history of the commons and projects its future as a possible fixture of modern life. His ultimate aim is to educate, but this extremely clear and fascinating work may serve just as well to galvanize. This book stresses "enclosure," which some economists might recognize as "resource grabbing," as both a critical attack on resources and a primary cause of poverty. Resources once held in common, like British forests and California water, are attractive enough to perpetrators of business ventures that they tend to be unilaterally claimed, which is not necessarily fair to the people who once relied on them. The most strident example cited in this book is the British woodlands, which had supported a nation of peasants with free wood and food but were eventually claimed for the exclusive use of British aristocracy. Bollier's statements against the destruction of common property are particularly effective in that they are backed up by facts, examples, rational argument, and compromise. Even dyed-in-the-wool capitalists may find themselves intrigued. Though he criticizes large-scale political and commercial structures for their role in the erosion of the commons, Bollier presents a number of useful ideas, as well as his own opinions, on how to reconcile the commons with current business and government models in such a way that everyone wins. This perspective is refreshing in activism, where even leaders are often all-or-nothing absolutists. Think Like a Commoner is extraordinarily well structured. Though the concept of common property is hardly simple, 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. While Think Like a Commoner won't make or break any experts, it certainly opens the door; interested readers will find plenty to fill their time with in the extremely comprehensive reading list included in the back matter. "The commons is truly the new paradigm, the missing third link for the reform of civilization. But the commons is not a thing, but above all the expression of a cultural revolution and of subjective changes. David Bollier has done a great job of explaining the importance of this great cultural shift." ---Michel Bauwens, Founder, Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives "Our world is in need of reviving an ancient wisdom if it is to survive. David Bollier has a beautiful, bold but practical vision for our commons future and lights the path forward. I love this book!" ---Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians; international water activist "It probably surprises you to know that the wealth we own together as a commons is far more valuable than the wealth that we and corporations own separately. Corporations know this and have commercialized or taken control of what we the people own -- such as the public airwaves, the public lands, our genes and trillions of dollars of knowledge (eg. research and development) paid for by taxpayers -- for starters. For this and more you must read Bollier's brilliant distillation of the huge variety of commons and how we can take control of what we own in order to transform our economy for us, our posterity and the planet. Once you pick it up, you'll tremble with the excitement of what we all own in the form of the commons that somehow escaped our notice in our years of formal education." ---Ralph Nader, Consumer advocate and author, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State

About the Author

David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and independent scholar who has studied the commons as a transformative paradigm for fifteen years. He is co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group, co-director of the Commons Law Project, and a frequent speaker and strategy advisor. Bollier is an author and editor of six books on different aspects of the commons, including Green Governance, The Wealth of the Commons and Viral Spiral. He blogs at www.Bollier.org and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this 24 Mar 2014
By David R. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David Bollier does a masterful job of reminding us about the potential to manage shared resources collaboratively, without relying solely on markets or governments.
Timely reading in the context of debates about Internet Governance.
He shows that there is a third path that can help resolve debates about conflicts between property and liberty.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I support this! 6 Mar 2014
By E. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the go-to book for learning about the commons - a topic which can be explained all too academically in other places. I definitely had a "right book at the right time" feeling when I came across this, as I just finished Cities Perceived which looks back at the development of urban life. Since it is clearly time for a societal paradigm shift, I'm all sorts of excited by this adaptive and practical concept of living more communally. As someone who lived many years in New Mexico, I have been exposed to how different cultures use land, but meditating on this enough to build a new model for society is not something I have done.

This is where David Bollier comes in - as a resourceful guide and author of many books. This one is very accessible and should be received well. For over 15 years he has explored the different ways to understand the commons, as a dynamic yet general noun that describes all sorts of resources: "digital, urban, natural, indigenous, rural, cultural, scientific" AS WELL AS a verb because its about their interaction with people.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding introduction to the commons 9 July 2014
By Neal Gorenflo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this primer on the commons. Bollier strikes the perfect balance in defining the commons by being straightforward without being simplistic. The commons emerges as a tangible path out of the crises we face that is beautiful, complex, and most of all, practical.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely introduction to the commons 4 Mar 2014
By Gary Ruskin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Think Like a Commoner is a great new book about the commons. It’s highly readable and accessible. At times, it reads like poetry. David Bollier has shoehorned a tremendous number of mind bombs into a very short space. It's a lovely introduction into the commons and why you should care about it. It truly will help you think like a commoner, and the world would be a better place if we all did.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 17 Sep 2014
By Nikolaos P. Anastasopoulos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent overview of the commoning history, commoning culture, qualities, hopes, expectations and futures.
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