david bollier

david bollier

intro’d to David this talk on the commons via Michel:

nov 2014:

Adventures in New Economics – Wealth of the Commons

patterns of commoning…

a pattern language – by christopher alexander

what goes on when people common as a verb

affective labor… mix identity w/resource.. farm hack, arduino, wiki speed car

6 min – contrary there are about 2 billion people in the world who’s every day subsistence is from commons.. so scandalous that textbooks ignore this world.. because there’s not profit, et al.. yet this is a relatively ecologically benign means to meet needs..

currencies.. crowdfunding site in spain – boteo.. so.. a huge diversity of such commons that just haven’t been recognized as ways.


weshare conference – more of a micro rental economy

degrowth conference – i prefer post growth

18 min – city as a commons

germany – institute for commons, summer school

in us – this summer – omega institute n of nyc… conf on commons as common – jeremy rifkin, bill mckibben, david..

25 min – via Michel – a commons based reciprocity license – if not using for profit – free – if using for profit – have to pay

26 min – recurring theme: trying to figure out a way to interrupt the logic of the conventional capital driven markets… find some sort of durable alternative framework whether it’s legal, technological, or social.. to assert the commons in a lasting way

30 min – blockchain ledger – audit trail w/o middleman – opens door for distributed systems of trust – turn facebook inside out.. community verifies

from bitcoin to burning man and beyond

id cubed (notes for the book here) – Sandy Pentland

35 min – green governance – public trust doctrine – atmospheric trust litigation

37 min – need more notions of what law would be like w/in commons – illich – vinacular – informally negotiated forms of law

how state based law – which is so intertwined with market law – can be reformed to a commons law

39 – not just about laws and organizings…

there is not commons w/o commoning.. it’s the presence of humans with each other that needs to be respected and validated in new ways – great subversive potential

the good news is you don’t need specific expertise.. just enough people wanting to try a new way..

another way ness.


44 min – needing a balance of convivial/non-convivial (illich) ness. we’ve got to tame these techs.. because not going to be able to banish them. we need to find ways for tech to serve larger purposes without being captured…

c dot app story ness – something else to do ness..


june 2014:

The Relationship of Markets and Commons – Leuphana Digital School

threat – enclosure.. commodifying and putting price tags

capital driven markets are becoming so powerful that they are interfering with natural ness.. ie: patents,

enclosure is always cast of a necessary step – but actually an act of dispossession.. ie: something originally shared.. not captured

enclosure substitutes market exchange for social relationships..

10 day care centers ness

we need to reinvent the tradition of beating the bounds

the commons has to have w/in it’s own capacity the ability to protect its own endurance

many coops are so immersed in markets.. that they are more invested in people than in common good


what is the commons:


shared resources that a given community wants to manage for the collective advantage of everyone – in particular over the market regime..

internet is a vast hosting infrastructure for commons

a commons can be extremely lightweight… ie: wikipedia.. had an itch to scratch..

bottom ingenuity will prevail in trying to counter these things..

brazil, philippines, amsterdam.. starting to find each other.. commons discourse starting to grow


wealth of the commons















find/follow David:


link twitter



wikipedia small






David Bollier is an American activist, writer, and policy strategist. He is co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group, Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, and writes technology-related reports for the Aspen Institute. Bollier collaborated with television writer/producer Norman Lear on a variety of non-television, public affairs projects from 1985 to 2010.

Bollier was founding editor of On the Commons (2003-2010), and now blogs at his own website, Bollier.org. Bollier calls his work “focused on reclaiming the commons, understanding how digital technologies are changing democratic culture, fighting the excesses of intellectual property law, fortifying consumer rights and promoting citizen action.”

Bollier co-founded the public interest group Public Knowledge in 2002 and served as a board member until 2010. He was awarded the 2012 Bosch Berlin Prize in Public Policy at the American Academy in Berlin.


The new _Patterns of Commoning_ by @davidbollier and @Commonify keeps giving me shivers. It has everything: https://t.co/1hvmopXgor

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/nathanairplane/status/670678067455508482


commons ness

commons transition


from shares on dec 2015

via jose ramos rt
via michel share on fb









3 min – 30 yrs ago worked in govt.. saw how govt wasn’t a very good trustee of our resources.. i wanted to explore how the commons might be a better alternative for our collective resources..

1 min in .. et al… fitting with Siddhartha‘s.. thinking.. find the natural.. replace/restore it.. trust the natural to take over.. self/natural-organizing ness..

10 min – on talking policy and working together to take over

hearing Jordan… that tinkering with policy is a distraction..

14 min – on patenting of genes… not so much to gain money.. but to keep others from it.. a serious problem

16 min – on trusting people/communities… for self-organizing ness

17 min – on our one ness.. genetically.. but we’ve let not-us ness come in..

needing to re install rna ness


via Michel:

The Aliveness of a Commons: David Bollier’s Shareable Interview


Commons have their own self-replicating energy/grace. ..  expresses people’s real needs.


How Does the Commons Work?

a way to manage shared resources… to which everyone has a right..

people argue that can’t manage shared resources for common good – w/o regulation.. w/o state reg… called tragedy of commons… David Bollier says this is totally wrong..

fundamental mistake of treating commons as a thing…but commons isn’t a thing.. a process.. involves everyone in community.. continually creating rules/management together…

w community using commoning as way to successfully manage everything..

a fair way to manage/distribute shared resources that belong to everyone… David thinks it’s an important part of next system..

indeed.. let’s be bold enough to not common partially.. that matters. that’s huge..



David Bollier and the City as a Commons | P2P Foundation blog.p2pfoundation.net/david-bollier-…

New Democracy 10: David Bollier and the City as a Commons (2 hrs)

cities as commons as answer to threats

david  (6 min to 36 min)

the commons is a mystery that i continue to probe.. city as a commons is precisely one of those frontiers..

tragedy of the commons – is a smear and a distraction… a lot of embedded premises of tragedy of commons.. actually more.. tragedy of the market..

tragedy ness

ostrom showed self-org’d individuals can successfully .. common

commons is not just a resource.. a social system more than a resource..

deep/simple/open enough

great unacknowledged scandal of our time… privatization of wealth.. taking possession of things that are owned by all of us

13 min – hedgefunds taking over lands…

20% of human genome patented.. reluctant to study cures.. math can’t be used in software because of patent..

16 min – one of greatest problem of our time: market progress and tech is really just dispossession.. of taking away of shared wealth

17 min – commons is about a different universe of values  ie: 1\ relationality

having access to things that are essential to our daily lives.. commons trying to restore that..

19 min – devise new ways to beat the bounds of our shared wealth..

there is no commons w/o commoning.. a verb.. a social activity..

20 min – giving ie’s.. ie: peru potatoes.. et al

21 min – there are more than 2 billion people who’s lives depend on commons everyday.. but most intro econ textbooks don’t mention.. not of interest.. no market exchange.. not cash involved.. not taking place in the market..

22 min – lot of alt currencies trying to capture community value..


23 min – 20 % of econ dependent on fair use commons

100% if we want a healthy planet.. no?

24 min – vast amount of sharing that turns copyright on its head

global design local manufacture

25 min – commons expanding – fablab..

4\ city as commons – great deal of interest in europe..

27 min – ie’s: public commons; platform coop; shareable cities; urban gardens; open data; urban land trusts; fablabs/makerspaces; timebanks

so perhaps.. why we haven’t yet – gotten to global equity/commons – we keep trying partial.. ness.. when commons.. more than anything.. begs all of us.. or none of us..

28 min – reframes how we engage w city.. commons gives framework or critiquing problems.. while providing framework for alt’s..  ie: mechs for self-governance..

hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data.. as the day.. (aka: not partial)

33 min – arts and civic culture change when city becomes a commons.. not just consumers.. initiators..

34 min – places practicing city as commons: bologna, seol korea, barcelona

38 min – lab gov  –  https://twitter.com/LabGov – is space for this experimentation – bologna – @chrisiaio

39 min – rethink gov of city..polycentric power structure –  of http://www.labgov.it/

40 min – http://commonsnetwork.eu/60-2/ – brings issues to policy.. to help facil commons rather than block it… need commons to ie: deal w/refugee crisis.. – David Hammerstein – https://twitter.com/DaHammerstein

ie’s: access…. to internet/medicines/books..

43 min – the commons needs a political agenda.. to move much more quickly.. – @DaHammerstein

perhaps means to leap.. as agenda

44 min – Marleen Stikker (Waag Society) – on fab labs

46 min – david: if no intellectual property.. how to get financing w no collateral.. serious problem for growing open tech

a means to make money as os irrelevant.. disengage

47 min – marleen ( https://twitter.com/marleenstikker ): coop better for humans than competition.. so have to facil that.. and that means.. slow money

48 min – we have to talk about the money.. but first.. want to make sure everyone in room gets idea of city as commons – facilitator

50 min – scaling up of resources to city as a whole.. go from single resources.. changing governance.. ie: don’t have to talk about gardens/labs/et-al.. talking about finance of commons in city.. infrastructure.. produce energy.. open knowledge..manage wireless networks.. go from sharing to collab/ing producing resource.. everybody is coop ing w/o even knowing coop ing.. complex commons based system.. – @chrisiaio

53 min – david: respecting creative agency of everyone to participate.. and that generates value in itself..

53 min – city as commons – a paradigm shift – hard for people to understand because don’t realize we live in another paradigm at moment – marleen

57 min – on urgency

for (blank)’s sake

taking rest of notes (last hour of panel) on commons page


David Bollier review of Thackara’s How to Thrive in the Next Economy https://t.co/TJ8vMIrcZ2

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/KevinCarson1/status/790694790279016448

critique is one thing; the creative construction of a new world is another.


As Thackara shows us, there are scores of brilliant working examples around the world that demonstrate how to meet our needs in more responsible, fair and enlivening ways.

just nothing yet to bring it all together.. non binary.. non partial..


wish Thackara had spent more time speculating on how we might propagate the emergent new models.  We sorely need to accelerate the proliferation of small, local experiments into larger global movements.  We need to better understand how our search for economic and political change is invisibly linked to inner self-transformations that are still unfolding.  This is really the key – how to nourish aliveness. 

indeed – so a nother way ish.. let’s model it..[bend your ear]

ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data.. as the day

At a time when everything is fair game for monetized extraction –  not just land and water, but language, culture, knowledge and even consciousness and lifeforms – we desperately need to develop new socio-economic organisms that can regenerate life on its own terms.  Life needs to be honored as our first priority, not as a secondary benefit of commodity-exchange.




sept 2016 – reimagining the future – common ing




small revolutionary steps

rev of everyday life

as the day.

what kind of alarm clock will wake us up

the turtle needs it shell back.. let’s do that..  first


on barcelona and the commons – nov 2016


On a visit to Barcelona last week, I learned a great deal about the City’s pioneering role in developing “the city as a commons.”  I also learned that crystallizing a new commons paradigm – even in a city committed to cooperatives and open digital networks – comes with many gnarly complexities.

so.. are coops commons..?

The Barcelona city government is led by former housing activist Ada Colau, who was elected mayor in May 2015.

Ada Colau

She is a leader of the movement that became the political party Barcelona En Comú (“Barcelona in Common”). Once in office, Colau halted the expansion of new hotels, a brave effort to prevent “economic development” (i.e., tourism) from hollowing out the city’s lively, diverse neighborhoods. As a world city, Barcelona is plagued by a crush of investors and speculators buying up real estate, making the city unaffordable for ordinary people.


Barcelona En Comú is not just a movement, it must operationally assist the varied needs of a large urban economy and provide all sorts of public services:  a huge, complicated job.

What happens when activist movements come face-to-face with such administrative realities and the messy pressures of representative politics? This is precisely why the unfolding drama of Barcelona En Comú is instructive for commoners. Will activists transform conventional politics and government systems into new forms of governance — or will they themselves be transformed and abandon many of their original goals?

a nother way

Barcelona En Comú realizes that *boosting that commons collaborative economy is an act of co-creation with commoners, not a government project alone.

or perhaps.. *it would be the compromise.. keeping us from authentic common/ing.. keeping us from authentic us..

So the city has established new systems to open and expand new dialogues.  …*policies. …a web platform for public deliberation and **decision making.

perhaps not common enough..let’s try ie: *only two ‘policies” and **no consensus sought/agendaized..


Some sympathetic allies worry that Barcelona En Comú is superimposing the commons ethic and language onto a conventional left politics – that it amounts to a re-branding of reform and a diluting of transformational ambitions.  Critics wonder whether the commons is in danger of being captured by The System. They ask whether “participative governance” in existing political structures is a laudable advance or a *troubling type of co-optation.

i suggest.. *troubling..


There will always be gaps, uncertainties and complexities that are encountered for the first time, which can only be addressed on-the-fly with creative improvisations

so let’s design for just that.. ie: short


Francesca Bria: transformational change is difficult because “the public sector was not designed to serve the people.”

spot on.. so .. do-over time


Sadly, this is absolutely true. City governments are usually designed to cater to wealthy developers, investors and corporations.

sounds like medical trek to cure cancer.. et al

agenda ness (ie: money as os) .. is eating our pants


The term (smart city) implies a private black box of proprietary technology that can be purchased, but is off-limits to ordinary mortals. Not quite a vision of the commons. Systems, not people, lie at its heart.


As the host for the Smart City Expo, the city government wanted to broaden the discourse of “smart cities” at this event, and so it invited the likes of me and David Harvey, among others.

David Harvey


I also focused on a variety of commons-based urban initiatives such as the Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons, participatory budgeting, data commons and platform cooperatives.

coops.. budgeting.. nicer version of smart city mentality.. of cancer research.. we have to let go of measuring transactions..


the deeper point remains:  How to integrate commons-based systems with the complex realities of city governments and markets as they exist today?  Or must commons occupy a *different sphere entirely?

I confess that I do not have a fully satisfying answer to these questions.

*diff .. for (blank)’s sake


it is paramount that in doing so commons affirmatively protect their sovereignty and integrity of vision.

indeed.. partial ness is killing us


A third, more precarious option is to “stay on the threshold, neither in nor out.”  But is that sustainable?

absolutely.. that’s us.. and where regeneration is ongoingly possible


barcelona‘s brave struggle to advance commmons


But the deeper point remains:  How to integrate commons-based systems with the *complex realities of city governments and markets as they exist today?  Or must commons occupy a different sphere entirely?

*realities..? as in givens..?

I confess that I do not have a fully satisfying answer to these question

the city as a commons – dec 2016





tragedy of commons – only looking at resources.. not systems.. elinor comes and clears it up

enclosures of the city.. overbuilt/overmarketized/unfair.. turning wealth into commodities..

20 % of human genome patented.. causing problems.. same with environment.. causes of enclosure

the common generates value .. it’s not a tragedy

14 min – how do we reinvent city as commons..

short plan

15 min – city as living social system of interdependent creative agents..  individual agency as real source of power.. if a city could tap into that.. energies.. that otherwise couldn’t pay for..

but this requires other ways of govt/managing..

hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data

cultivating a culture of citizen led innovation..

20 min – platform coop

not common ing

21 min  -alt currency

not common ing

22 min – m pesa – as alt to transacting when currency not available..

not common ing

why city as commons.. more energies.. makes things more affordable.. city as incubators

energy\ness..yes.. but only if we disengage from money ness.. measuring transactions..

26 min – q: do we get rid of copyright  a: creative commons depends on it so no..

why creative commons..? to me.. that’s not common ing..


re imagining value report – David Bollier.. David Graeber – value.. et al


may 2017


15 min – once we start to realize things are relational and not merely transactional

17 min – for me.. the next frontier is the us.. we need new structures..


review of Jamesaffluence w/o abundance


Affluence without abundance: What moderns might learn from the bushmen /

The modern world of global commerce, technologies and countless things has not delivered on the leisure and personal satisfaction once promised.  Which may be why we moderns continue to look with fascination at those cultures that have persisted over millennia, who thrive on a different sense of time, connection with the Earth, and social relatedness.

The history is not told as a didactic lesson, but merely as a fascinating account of how humans have organized their lives in different, more stable, and arguably happier, ways..t

The fate of one band of San, the Ju/’hoansi, is remarkable, writes Suzman, because the speed of their transformation “from an isolated group of closely related hunting and gathering bands to a marginalized minority struggling to survive in a rapidly changing polyglot modern state is almost without parallel in modern history.”

History barely matters, and the future is defined by market-based aspirations — a job, a car, a home.  The modern world has few places to carry on meaningful traditions and sacred relationships.

I was pleased to see that James Suzman has founded a group, Anthropos, https://www.anthropos.org.uk/about to “apply anthropological methods to solving contemporary social economic and development problems.”  A timely and important mission.


Kevin Carson Ⓐ (@KevinCarson1) tweeted at 3:24 AM – 5 Oct 2017 :

David Bollier: Re-imagining Politics Through the Lens of the Commons | global-e https://t.co/hBXCE7UR03(http://twitter.com/KevinCarson1/status/915870202985943040?s=17)

Why are the more wholesome alternative visions so scarce and scarcely believable?

We need to imagine new sorts of governance and provisioning arrangements that can transform, tame, or replace predatory markets and capitalism

let’s try this ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

Cultural critic Douglas Rushkoff has said, “I’ve given up on fixing the economy.  The economy is not broken.  It’s simply unjust.” In other words, the economy is working more or less as its capitalist overseers intend it to work.

The fundamental problem in developing a new vision, however, is that old ideological debates continue to dominate public discourse. Politics is endlessly rehashing many of the same disagreements, failing to recognize that deep structural change is needed.

Why is the public imagination for transformation change so stunted? In part because most established institutions are more focused on managing their brand reputations and organizational franchises. Taking risks and developing bold new initiatives and ideas are not what they generally do. Meanwhile, system-change movements are generally *dismissed as too small-scale, trivial or apolitical to matter.

and.. as yet.. none have been deep enough for all of us.. today.. it’s time to go there.. where *dismissing ness is irrelevant

The old guard of electoral politics and standard economics has trouble comprehending the principle of emergence, let alone recognizing the need for innovative policy structures that could leverage and focus that dynamic power.

ie: 2 convos

Conventional schools of economics, politics and power do not comprehend the generative capacities of decentralized, self-organized networks. They apply obsolete categories of institutional control and political analysis, as if trying to understand the ramifications of automobiles through the language of “horseless carriages.”

Influencing unfolding realities may be less about electing different leaders and policies than about learning how to change ourselves, orchestrate a new shared intentionality,..t .. and hoist up new narratives about the commons

2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way