Our Common Wealth

April 2, 2013

"The commons" is a term that denotes everything we share as opposed to own privately. Some parts of the commons are gifts of nature: the air and oceans, the web of species, wilderness, and watersheds. Others are the product of human creativity and endeavor: sidewalks and public squares, the Internet, our languages, cultures, technologies, and infrastructure. No one has exclusive rights. We inherit them jointly and hold them in trust for future generations. Our Common Wealth illuminates the scale and value of the commons, its symbiotic relationship with the rest of the economy, its importance to our personal and planetary well-being, and how it is threatened by privatization and neglect.

Author Jonathan Rowe describes a growing movement to recognize and defend the commons on many fronts:

  • community initiatives
  • legal actions
  • visionary proposals such as a "sky trust" 

to charge polluters and distribute proceeds to all of us.