David Bollier has posted to the Web the talk he gave at the recent Illich conference in Oakland. It's here, at Resilience.org, and it's called "The Quiet Realization of Ivan Illich's Ideas in the Contemporary Commons Movement." It begins:
I come here today as an ambassador of the commons movement – a growing international movement of activists, thinkers, project leaders and academics who are attempting to build a new world from the ground up. It’s not just about politics and policy. It’s about social practices and the design of societal institutions that help us live as caring, intelligent human beings in spiritually satisfying ways.
Many Americans have not heard of the commons except in connection with the word “tragedy.” We’ve all heard the famous tragedy of the commons parable. It holds that any shared resource invariably gets over-exploited and ruined. Since the “tragedy meme” appeared in a famous 1968 essay by Garrett Hardin, it has been drummed into the minds of undergraduates in economics, sociology and political science classes. It serves as a secular catechism to propagandize the virtues of private property and so-called free markets.
Thanks to the tragedy smear, most people don’t realize that the commons is in fact a success story – that it is a durable artifact of human history, that it is a way to effectively manage shared resources, and that it lies at the heart of a growing political and cultural movement.
I have been a part of this movement for the past fifteen years, writing books, blogging, organizing conferences, giving talks, writing strategy papers, working with partners and trying to raise money. On this journey, I have discovered that the commons contains vast worlds within worlds, most of which are invisible to the Harvard-trained policy wonks who dominate Washington and the neoliberal economists from the great universities. […]