Economic progress has been uneven to say the least. People and the environment are still experiencing stresses even in countries with higher living standards. Could re-focussing the local economy be part of the answer? A regenerative local economy includes all citizens, recirculates money to ensure thriving local businesses and it works to ensure a sustainable use of resources. Seen this way, the local economy, a functioning local market and people’s time are part of the commons.
The spheres – lithosphere, biosphere, aquasphere and atmosphere are commons that we all need to take from to live, to return to ensure their full workings and to steward for coming generations. This video – a rough and ready version of a training coming later – gives you a quick but solid introduction to the whole area of circular economy. Let me know what you think in the comments!
A new research report shows that within the last 10 years, the Flemish city of Ghent in Belgium has seen a ten-fold increase in local commons initiatives. The report defines commons as any “shared resource, which is co-owned or co-governed by a community of users and stakeholders, under the rules and norms of that community.”
This film questions the orthodox opinion that only private ownership can protect the ecosystems. It discusses the thoughts and rights of people around the world and shows how landless people are protecting the common heritage of the Earth. How have they lost their basic human rights? We need a profound conversation about this.
Units of Trust are investments in local businesses that are neither shares nor direct loans but preferential debentures that are issued in standard denominations so local community members can easily compare offers.
Stakeholders are those individuals and groups that are important to the community. This takes on many forms – from local government who are gatekeepers to locals who have specialist knowledge to groups who are just fun to socialise with. It is important to identify these people and organisations the community will interact with and consider how to keep the relationships with them solid. This affects resilience too: the more stakeholders involved, the more resilient your community will be. Continue reading “Community and stakeholders (block 11)”
The main reason for the need for larger amounts of money in a commons initiative is to acquire assets – infrastructure. We call the infrastructure capital as it is, unlike labour and inputs, something that is used in the process of providing services but not used up. It will last many years and the cost for this infrastructure can be allocated over time. The financing of this infrastructure can be allocated over time too, being gradually paid back over the life-time of the infrastructure. Continue reading “Finding investment and investors (block 10)”
Talking about services earlier, we said that people do not want money, they want what money can buy. That is a truth with modification. People want things that money cannot buy too. They want to feel at home, they want to feel safe, they want to feel appreciated and they want to feel they can appreciate others. In short, a culture of giving, sharing and generosity is a more human culture. Continue reading “Creating a home: the gift culture (all blocks)”
This block covers two of the key areas of commons. Organizational form and governance. How do you come to agreement and how do you manage nudging people who do not follow agreements. It is better to have AN agreed method than no method at all. And better to have a formal organization than none.