Reclaiming the Commons

[David Bollier] Why we need to protect our public resources from private encroachment.*

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.
—English folk poem, circa 1764

One of the great questions of contemporary American political economy is, who shall control the commons? “The commons” refers to that vast range of resources that the American people collectively own, but which are rapidly being enclosed: privatized, traded in the market, and abused. The process of converting the American commons into market resources can accurately be described asenclosure because, like the movement to enclose common lands in eighteenth-century England, it involves the private appropriation of collectively owned resources. Continue reading “Reclaiming the Commons”