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Convergence for a Commons-Based Economy - 18 May

on Thu, 05/24/2012 - 23:04

The austerity measures. The run on the banks in Greece. The Euro Crisis.

Will all of this lead to a global monetary crisis?

The bursting of the superbubble should come as no surprise to anyone.

Since the end of the Second World War, Western nations have institutionalized their deficit spending.

The economic miracle of social welfare and the social market was not based on an enlightened new policy.

It was still based on the exploitation of the cheap labor and raw materials of  developing nations, holding down wages and suppressing the price of commodities.

Deficit nations are obliged by law to repay their debts to surplus nations. Surplus nation are under no legal obligation to recycle their wealth to deficit nations.

Our present social and ecological crises are a superbubble that is bursting.

It began when government adopted civil law over common or natural law, when common property was transformed into private property, and when interest rates replace the earlier forms of intention and increase expressed though culture and nature for the collective good.

But in recent years, this superbubble has grown to monstrous proportions through the deregulation of the global monetary system in the 1970s, the deregulation of the global financial system in the 80s, the deregulation of the global trading system in the 90s, and the deregulation of global aid and philanthropy in the 2000s.

Proposals for adjusting the global system through market prices and government regulations are falling short.

The market and state were not created to manage culture of the biosphere.

At best, the market and state can only express short-term, individual incentives for sustainability.

The price system elicits individual incentives for sustainability for individual consumers through prices.

Government elicits individual incentives for sustainability through the taxation of individual citizens.

In the end, these individual incentives do not add up to the collective intentions for sustainability that reflect the interests of the people and the living systems of the planet.

This can only be expressed through the value of our common assets, the resources that belong to all of Earth’s living creatures.

Today, the value of the commons is being expressed outside of the market and the state through nature, society, culture, intellectual resources and the internet, as well as through our collective genes and all living systems.

Imagine a future in which the replenishment and sustainability of all of these commons are express through the value of the money that we use.

The collective value of humanity -- which is artificially expressed for us through a handful of Central Bankers who set the rate of interest for all nations -- may be replaced by a sustainability rate which expresses the collective intentions of the people of the planet for sustainability.

This is what the commons is all about.

We are at the beginning of this process.

My work over the past several years has been in helping local groups to identify, manage and create value through their resources outside the purview of market prices and government regulation.

I’ve been helping communities set up trusts that formalize the co-production and co-governance of their commons.

Before setting up trusts, however, I counsel these groups to set up social charters.

This is a multistakeholder deliberation process to decide whether or not to create a legal and fiduciary trust to maintain their community’s resources for the future.

A good example is the WANA Forum, which has been discussing crossborder water and energy sharing agreements in the Middle East for the past four years. This will lead to a social charter for these resources at the non-governmental levels in the region, contributing greatly to economic and political stability.

I have enjoyed presenting these twelve seminars.

We, too, are building a community.

This community may also decide to create a social charter and a trust eventually, since it is already in the process of identifying its unique mission as a knowledge commons, as well as a social and cultural commons.

It is up to you to decide how to consolidate this, if you choose to do so.

This twelfth seminar is about committing to next steps.

I can advise and support you, but the process is really yours to create.