Giving Compass' Take:

• In this P2P Foundation post, author David Bollier argues that the commons — self-organized social systems for managing shared wealth — can help us re-imagine politics, governance and law.

• In this divisive environment, is such a worldview practical? How might the commons be integrated into our policymaking and civil society endeavors?

• Here's a view on how to decolonize wealth in philanthropy.

The commons, briefly put, is about self-organized social systems for managing shared wealth. Far from a “tragedy,” the commons as a system for mutualizing responsibilities and benefits is highly generative. It can be seen in the successful self-management of forests, farmland, and water, and in open source software communities, open-access scholarly journals, and “cosmo-local” design and manufacturing systems.

Over the past 50 years, the regulatory state has failed to abate the relentless flood of anti-ecological, anti-consumer, anti-social “externalities” generated by capitalism, largely because the power of capital has eclipsed that of the nation-state and citizen sovereignty. Yet the traditional left continues to believe, mistakenly, that a warmed-over Keynesianism, wealth-redistribution, and social programs are politically achievable and likely to be effective.

The intensifying concentration of wealth is creating a new global plutocracy, whose members are using their fortunes to dominate and corrupt democratic processes while insulating themselves from the ills afflicting everyone else. No wonder the market/state system and the idea of liberal democracy is experiencing a legitimacy crisis.

What Could Post-Capitalism Look Like?

Instead of clinging to the old left/right spectrum of political ideology—which reflects the centrality of “the market” and “the state” in organizing society—we need to entertain new narratives that allow us to imagine new drivers of governance, production, and culture. In my personal work, I see the enormous potential of the commons as farmers and fisherpeople, urban citizens and Internet users, try to reclaim shared resources that have been seized to feed the capitalist machine—and to devise their own governance alternatives. In this, the commons is at once a paradigm, a discourse, a set of social practices, and an ethic.

Read the full article about post-capitalism through the lens of the commons by David Bollier at P2P Foundation.