a. summary

Onions Studios: Should the Government Stop Dumping Money into a Giant Hole?


Is corporate neo-liberalism on a suicidal course penetrating every aspect of our lives? What if instead in how economy is deciding how it defines our lives, we ourselves together would decide what economy would mean and directs? The crisis of value in a purely economic paradigm of constant growth shows that, because of a number of inconsistencies and glitches inherent to the capitalist reality program, it is anything but realistic, causing ecocide of our very biotope and the world we inhabit, where the pathologies of the market are hardly diagnosed: profit is reaped by the corporations but the risks & bailouts are carried by the tax payer, plundering the common wealth. Can we imagine monetary ecosystems? Here we will zoom in on new open business models, sustainable economics, doughnut economics, participatory budgeting within government situations, time banking, alternative currencies, bartering, and the new economics of online sharing.

Finding a sustainable rapprochement between commons and markets is a complicated challenge. It helps to understand that markets are not necessarily the same thing as capitalism. Markets can be entirely local, fair and responsive to community needs if they are sufficiently embedded in communities and accountable to them. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 137)

So can market activity and commons coexist happily? The question is a controversial one among some commoners. David Bolier’s  view is that few commons can operate in total isolation from the rest of society. Virtually all commons are hybrids that depend in some measure upon the State or the Market. The important point, therefore, is to assure that commons can have as much autonomy and integrity of purpose as possible. If commons are to interact with markets, they must be able to resist enclosure, consumerism, the lust for capital accumulation and other familiar pathologies of capitalism, because that plunders nature with little concern for the long-term consequences. Markets need not be predatory and socially corrosive; they can become socially integrated into a community and made locally responsive. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 137)

David Bollier states that the trick in melding commons and markets consists in nourishing a distinct culture of commoning while devising “defensible boundaries” around the commons so that it can maintain its basic autonomy. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 138)

Silke Helfrich  explains that we’re in need of “a shift from commons-based peer production to commons-creating peer production. The commons is not about organizational form or property rights. It’s about the purpose. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 140)

These ideas clearly require a bold reconceptualization of the neoliberal Market/State. Michel Bauwens  has proposed that we reimagine the State and the Market as a “triarchy” that shares governance authority with the commons — the Market/State/Commons. The goal is to realign authority and provisioning into new, more socially beneficial configurations. The State must shift its focus to become a “Partner State,” as Michel Bauwens puts it, and become more than a colluding partner of the Market sector. (David Bollier: Think like a Commoner, 2014: 145)