Proposal for a Conference on Commons-Oriented Economics

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Proposal for an International (Un-)Conference on Commons-Oriented Economics.

For the official invitation submitted by Commons Strategies Group: see the Overview of the Economics of the Commons Conference

See also: a draft list of Commons-Oriented_Economists

The conference, which will take place May 22-24 in Berlin, is supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation and the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation.

Information on the regional preparatory workshops:

  1. Asia Commons Deep Dive
  2. Europe Commons Deep Dive
  3. Latin America Deep Dive


Contents

Proposed Major Themes:

This is part of the draft preparation, i.e. a list of names and topics, in a very early stage. However, suggestions are very welcome.

The Commons Beyond Economics:

Economics defined as the allocation of scarce resources is a problematic category since it assumes a priori scarcity, confuses quantitative and qualitative aspects of human society and has become the dominant lens to see society and its issues. Being critical of economics of or certain trends within economics is not sufficient. Therefore, any focus on commons-oriented 'economics' can only be a transitional approach, not an end point of a human approach.

  1. Roberto Verzola: understanding abundance, scarcity, sufficiency
  2. Wolfgang Hoeschele, geographer at Truman State University, Missouri, author of a book on the economics of abundance (Solidarity Economy, commons)
  3. Enrico Grazzini, author of Italian-book: The Sharing Economy as a Way Out of the Crisis (Editori Internazionali Riuniti, 2011
  4. Manfred Max-Neef, Chilean ecological economist; for his work on 'fundamental human needs'; Book: From an Economics of Power and Greed to an Economics of Compassion and the Common Good‎
  5. Katherine Gibson, Australia (community economics; former writing partner with the late Julie Graham, a.k.a., J.-K. Gibson-Graham)


    • Commons-orientated critiques of capitalism, neo-classical economics, neoliberalism and the current mainstream economic assumptions.
  1. In Italy, Marcello Cini, who is a physicist, writes since years on knowledge economy and commons. His last book: Sergio Bellucci e Marcello Cini firmano Lo spettro del capitale. Per una critica dell'economia della conoscenza(Codici Edizioni 2009
  2. Riane Eisler, (suggested by Nancy Roof), on dominator vs partnership economies
  3. Ricoveri, Giovanna, (2010). Beni comuni vs merci. Jaka Book.
  4. Luis Razeto [1], solidarity as a productive factor in the economy (factor 'c') (soidarity economics)


    • The Sufficiency or insufficiency of other heterodox economic assumptions: do they take sufficient account of the commons?
  1. Andrea Fumagalli, Italy, author of books on the current phase of Cognitive Capitalism
    • The Commons in relation to other trans-economic approaches: What other approaches can be used, in addition to the commons, to go beyond the centrality of economics in human life, and to return it to a system of provisioning of sustainable human needs? How does the commons relate to the solidarity economy, buen vivir and other proposals?


The commons as a global and local alternative

What commons-oriented alternatives are being proposed to deal with the global crisis in both its global and local aspects?

    • Overview of commons-oriented macro-economic conceptions: how does a commons orientation fits in today's economic approaches , or not, i.e. to what degree is the commons approach compatible with the existing system; what needs to change?


    • The Commons and the non-capitalist economic traditions. The aim of this session is to open up a dialogue with indigenous, traditional and neotraditional conceptions of the economy, especially those which give the commons an important if not central place
  1. Lora Goldner, Economy of Communion
  2. Sabbath Economics (evangelical)
  3. Charles Eisenstein; author of Sacred Economics
  4. Padmasiri de Silva, Monash, Melbourne (Buddhist economics)
  5. Peter Daniels. Griffith, Brisbane (Buddhist economics)
  6. Apichai Puntasen, Thailand, Buddhist Economics


    • Solving the biospheric crisis: preserving and protecting the natural commons. The biosphere and its natural resources cannot be considered as one commons amongst the others, but as the key commons for human survival. What commons approaches have been proposed to preserve our planet?
  1. Peter Victor, managing without growth, towards economics of flow, a dialogue partner between commons and ecological economics [2]
  2. James Boyce, UMass Amherst (ecological economics)
  3. Herman Daly, steady-state economics
  4. Josh Farley, U. of Vermont (ecological economics, community development)
  5. Peter Söderbaum - important "green economist,


    • Technology and the commons. To what degree is technology a enabler or hindrance of the commons. What kind of technology needs to be developed for a commons-oriented society. What is the linkage between technology and sustainability?
  1. Brett Frischmann. Minnesota Law Review essay (April 2005) "An Economic Theory of Infrastructure and Commons Management: Projected book: Infrastructure: Social Value of Shared Resources.


    • Strategies for transformations. How do we achieve a transition to a commons-oriented civilisation?
  1. Christian Arnsperger: see, Six Framework Conditions for Global Systemic Change
  2. James Quilligan, essays on the Global Commons in Kosmos Journal, etc .. (the social charter approach)


Overview of alternative approaches

  1. Wolfgang Hoeschele, geographer at Truman State University, Missouri (Solidarity Economy, economics of abundance)
  2. Juliette Schor, author of the book Plenitude (economics of abundance)
  3. Allen Butcher, expert on Community Economics
  4. Alain Caille, MAUSS, France, Gift Economy
  5. Kevin Carson, mutualist economics centered around distributed manufacturing


Key elements of a commons-based societal infrastructure

A commons oriented society requires that certain enabling infrastructures, and in all likelyhood, a substantial decommodification of substantial aspects of human society, such as labor and finance. In this session, we review key infrastructural areas and how they should be changed and adapted in the context of an evolution towards becoming a commons.


    • Money and Finance as a commons: from local credit commons to transnational monetary reform

Common-stock approaches (capital owned by citizens and workers) to physical production and manufacturing: to what degree can the emergence of global innovation commons based on open content, free software and shared design, be combined with not just open and distributed forms of machinery, but with new forms of distributed, commons-oriented, property and ownership

  1. a representative of Modern Monetary Theory
  2. Ellen Brown, reforming finance through the public creation of money
  3. Chris Cook, Open Capital approach
  4. Thomas Greco, instituting Credit Commons
  5. Hazel Henderson, Ethical Markets
  6. Mellor, Mary ( 2010). The Future of Money, Pluto Press.
  7. David Hales; Towards a Quality Financial Commons?


    • Legal Infrastructures and new institutions for the Commons

What kind of legal infrastructures and new institutions do we need to enable and maintain commons?

  1. Ugo Mattei
  2. Janelle Orsi, Sustainable Law Development Center
  3. Caroline Botero, Creative Commons
  4. Gerald Epstein, UMass Amherst (cooperatives)
  5. Mark Whitaker, Toward a Bioregional State (bk), combines Commodity Ecology and the Civic Democratic Instititutions of the Bioregional State form, for longterm protection of the watershed nature commons.


    • Labor as a commons
  1. Tom Walker: Towards a Labor Commons through Social Accounting, through seeing Employment as a Common Pool Resource
  2. Paul Hartzog: General Theory of Unemployment
  3. Jaroslav Vanek, labour cooperative economics, [Jaroslav_Vanek_on_Cooperative_Economics]
    • Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst (feminist economics/caring economy)
    • Marilyn Waring, New Zealand: "If Women Counted". This feminist analysis of modern economics reveals how economic theory automatically excludes women's housework, caring of the young, sick and the old from value of people. Waring later produced a documentary on the same topic, Who's Counting.
    • Education as a commons


Sustaining Sectoral Commons.

This section is where specialized commons can present and discuss their specific issues.


    • Economics of the physical commons: what can we learn about the governance and economics of local physical commons
  1. Peter Barnes [3], Pt. Reyes Station, California (former entrepreneur; commons; Sky Trust) *
  2. Elinor Ostrom [4], Arizona State & Indiana U. (commons; not an economist, but she might as well be)


    • Economics of digital common: what can we learn from the economics governing digital commons
  1. Philippe Aigrain, free culture, IP and filesharing economics
  2. Yochai Benkler [5], Harvard Law School (digital commons; not an economist, but he might as well be)
  3. Mayo Fuster Morell, Berkman Center fellow, studies Online Creation Communities