Introduction: Advancing the Commonsverse: The Political Economy of The Commons

Wagenaar, HendrikORCID: and Bartels, KoenORCID: (2024) Introduction: Advancing the Commonsverse: The Political Economy of The Commons. International Journal of the Commons, 18 (1), pp. 337-350.

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This introductory article sets out the twin goals of this special issue: “Advancing the Commonsverse: The Political Economy of the Commons”. The first is to introduce the innovative work of David Bollier and Silke Helfrich in theorizing and researching the commons. The second is to explore the possibilities and constraints of the commons and the process of commoning as they unfold in real-world political-economic settings. Bollier and Helfrich have formulated a remarkable, ‘in-the-round’, moral-empirical theory of the commons. In their social ontology, peer governance and moral economy commons form a subversive alternative to the capitalist order. Bollier and Helfrich’s theory restores an older tradition of a moral critique of capitalism in the tradition of “moral economists” such as Karl Polanyi and H.P. Tawney. It raises important questions about the socio-ethical foundations of our society and economy, the relationship between civil associations and the state, and the nature of the state. In the final part of this introduction, we discuss the complex relationship between the commons and the state. We frame this relationship as one of mutual dependency and argue for the careful redesign of our institutions of public administration and democratic governance to make them more receptive and accessible to the creative powers of the commons. Finally, we introduce the contributions to this special issue, including a reflective concluding essay by David Bolllier.

Item Type: Article in Academic Journal
Keywords: commons, commoning, state, political-economy, commonsverse
Research Units: Current Research Groups > Science, Technology and Social Transformation
Date Deposited: 03 May 2024 07:19
Last Modified: 27 May 2024 11:06
DOI: 10.5334/ijc.1400
ISSN: 1875-0281

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