As mentioned in our positive ideas blog nr.2 about the P2P Commons the organisation structure of the “commons” (NL: meent, FR. commune, DLD: Gemeinde) plays a central role in the redefinition of our societies. The late Lady Elanor Oström has studied these structures in-depth and found they can be viable, although under strict rules of cooperation and sharing. She rejected the old economy comment of “the Tragedy of the Commons” as superficial and only looking of cases of shared public grounds or orchards. Which is not a clever choice of shared resources, just like I can recommend you NOT to share the Kitchen in a building occupied by a commune. In Commons volunteers, artist and scientists can play important roles. Make sure they are rewarded and appreciated for their valuable contributions. Creating value together is the central driver which drives incentives to do so.
2. In my humble opinion the success of a P2P Commons depends on RULE NUMBER ONE for a Commons =
” Make it x-tal clear to all participants A. What is the shared resource or shared activity (is non-competitive) AND B. What resources / activities are NOT shared (private property, competitive) ” ~ jaap van till.
RULE NUMBER TWO: “Beware of the phenomenon of the appearance, sooner or later, of Sharks who will start to exploit the work of the kind Dolphins. They will, kindly at first, offer to “do the administration”, make a list, or sit at the cashregister. Example: Zuck. They want you to (start) do the work while they get rich. Get them out.”
My RULE NUMBER THREE: ” Keep everybody informed of everything, insides and outsides, by cascades of P2P communication, I call #weavelets, see elsewhere on my blog. This allows rapid response to unexpected situations and rapid learning by doing. And rapid innovations which are applauded by those who contribute them. No, do not drown in bureacracy and endless meetings. If ants, flocks of birds and colonies of bacteria can do this (collective intelligence with distributed authority) so can WE”
Question: Sometimes a “Commons” is called a “Cooperative”. Are these really the same thing ?
Jaap van Till, The Connectivist
Here is the description of the very useful book mentioned in the headline, taken from: https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745399355/elinor-ostroms-rules-for-radicals/
An introduction to the groundbreaking ideas of the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics
Elinor Ostrom was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics. Her theorising of the commons has been celebrated as groundbreaking and opening the way for non-capitalist economic alternatives, yet, many radicals know little about her. This book redresses this, revealing the indispensability of her work for green politics, left economics and radical democracy.
Ostrom has often been viewed as a conservative or managerial thinker; but Derek Wall’s analysis of her work reveals a how it is invaluable for developing a left political programme in the twenty-first century. Central to Ostrom’s work was the move ‘beyond panaceas’; transforming institutions to widen participation, promote diversity and favour cooperation over competition. She regularly challenged academia as individualist, narrow and elitist and promoted a radical take on education, based on participation. Her investigations into how we share finite resources has radical implications for the Green movement and her rubric for a functioning collective ownership is highly relevant in order in achieving radical social change.
As activists continue to reject traditional models of centralised power, Ostrom’s work will become even more vital, offering a guide to creating economics that exists beyond markets and states.