Web Dossier

The Commons

A key economic concept for sustainable development

The world we have inherited no longer works. It is enough that the future of the planet and civilisation as we know it is under threat. And yet, countless commons, experimental projects and committed social movements are opening up important avenues for the future. 

We need to imagine new and better ways of being, doing and knowing. To do this, we must first recognise and move beyond narratives of capitalist progress and state power. Today, in the face of climate change, species extinction, economic inequality, authoritarian repression, racial and gender discrimination, among many other ills, we must confront the structural problems of the market/state system.

Capitalism has captured and corrupted our democratic processes. State bureaucracies and transnational markets are often unable to solve many problems. They are too big, too powerful and too remote. Too complex and legalistic. Too eager to transfer responsibility and risk. For too long we have relied on centralised, hierarchical and unaccountable institutions that disempower us. 

Could we imagine a post-capitalist way forward?

What are the Commons?

Commoning is a set of ongoing practices. It is a way of managing a resource like traditions, knowledge or natural resources for the benefit of all through a clearly defined community that agrees on a common set of rules.

ما هي المشاعات؟ / Qu'est ce que les Communs? / What are Commons - hbs Tunis

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History of the Commons in Tunisia

"Commoning" in Tunisia

Free, Fair, and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons

Free, Fair and Alive. The insurgent power of the Commons

We are delighted to present to you the book "Free, Fair and Alive," an inspiring work that explores the potential of the Commons to transform our society. Co-authored by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, this book provides a thorough and engaging analysis of how the Commons can reshape our economic, social, and environmental systems. It examines how collaboration, sharing, and democratic governance of resources can lead to a more equitable and sustainable society.

To learn more about this exciting topic, we invite you to check out the link above and the two interview segments featuring Silke Helfrich and David Bollier.

Capsule d'Interview : Exploration des Communs avec Silke Helfrich & David Bollier - hbs Tunis

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Réinventer le Langage des Communs | Session Créative avec Silke Helfrich & David Bollier - hbs Tunis

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Book Review "Free Fair and Alive"

Dive into the heart of the commons concept through an in-depth discussion based on the book "Free, Fair and Alive: The insurgent power of the Commons" by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich.

The Commons

Communities create rules and negotiate fair and practical ways of allocating benefits, and devising rules to protect their common wealth. These processes of commoning are based on shared purpose and trust within a community.Inkyfada, in partnership with the Heinrich Böll Foundation Tunis, has produced featured stories to shed light on commoning experiences in Tunisia. This podcast is part of the same partnership to promote this concept, including the book "Free, Fair and Alive" by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich serving as an additional avenue for understanding.

"There is no Commons without Communing ". While the term the " Commons " is often read as a noun referring to things that can be shared such as the sea, the internet, or land it is actually much more helpful to understand the Commons as a verb. The Commons are a set of ongoing practices, not an inert physical resource.

In this second episode, we broaden our perspective to examine the commons by shedding light on innovative initiatives and projects that seek to preserve and grow the commons while facontemporary challenges.

Guide to the Commons

Wiki, Videos & Books

The Commons Library

This guide is meant to offer you an accessible and playful entry into engaging with the Commons. This guide draws most of its information from the following to books which we highly recommend to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Commons:  

David Bollier : The Commoner’s Catalog for Changemaking

Silke Helfrich & David Bollier : Free, fair, and alive : the insurgent power of the Commons

1.    What is a Commons? 

2.    The Commons in a nutshell

3.    Commoning - A Triangular Process

4.    What are not the commons? The myth of the tragedy of the Commons

5.    Elinor Ostrom & 8 rules for managing the Commons

6.    How to start thinking and speaking like a commoner