james quilligan

james quilligan.png

adding page because of Michel‘s fb share:

the signaling of need by an organism routinely triggers the creation of its own supply.

org as fractal

self org

These divergent forces must be given an empirical basis in socioeconomic policy beyond the inept framework of supply-demand. Counterbalancing the needs of a population with its resource support systems requires a major readjustment. Here’s how this might work. What’s now included on the supply side as extraction, production and waste is redefined as the self-organization of resources within the ecological limits of the planet for their regeneration. And what’s now reported on the demand side as a measure of income is redefined as the self-sufficiency of people in meeting their daily requirements through the common use of these resources.

have/need ness.. affluence w/o abundance

When supply becomes an ecological value and demand becomes the value of human need, ‘build it and they will come’ is transformed into ‘demonstrate the need and it is met’. Now, instead of a crude approximation for economic equilibrium, we have an actual measure for the cooperative activities of people managing their resources to meet their needs — a measure based on the level of regenerative output which their ecology can optimally ‘carry’ or sustain.”

added above to org as fractal page.. then Michel shared link of whole piece:


*Rather than reflect actual human need, demand is a measure of individual consumption at the point of sale. It’s simply the price at which a person is willing to pay for something, signifying how much cash or credit is exchanged in the transaction. But what’s not measured by demand is the individual’s accessibility to breathable air, clean water, nutritious food, adequate shelter, or meaningful security, love, belonging and inclusion. Subjective expressions of need, beauty, volunteer labor, loss of commons or health and safety risks are simply not involved in the transmission of demand through the cash register, barcode scanner or wireless purchase.

*maté basic needs.. so we need less


Once again, this represents a certain kind of transactional balance within the marketplace, but does not reflect the broader relationship between the ecology and its population. 

a nother way.. sans measuring transactions..


On one hand, classical and neo-classical economists say that ‘supply creates its own demand’…On the other hand, Keynesian economists say that boosting wages and purchasing power generates demand..both schools assume that meeting human needs is dependent on extractive production, expanding population, continuous demand, increasing personal income, rising consumption and the unintended but inevitable byproducts of manufactured pollution and disposable waste.

Neither choice is correct because the basic theory of market equilibrium ignores environmental and social costs, deeply misinterpreting the dynamic link between ecological support systems and the people who depend on them.


All of this requires a clearer understanding of the interactions between the biosphere and human society. The ecological threshold of available resources and the allocations of those resources to meet the needs of a population are actually opposing forces which continuously counteract one another. This dynamic principle exists between every species and its environment: living organisms react to changes in their ecosystem and make adjustments to survive.

Through this constant interplay between natural and physical forces, instead of supply creating its own demand through prices or demand being dependent on income, the signaling of need by an organism routinely triggers the creation of its own supply. These self-regulating forces work in Nature and within the biology of the human body; they must also work in human societies. 

Here’s how this might work. What’s now included on the supply side as extraction, production and waste is redefined as the self-organization of resources within the ecological limits of the planet for their regeneration. And what’s now reported on the demand side as a measure of income is redefined as the self-sufficiency of people in meeting their daily requirements through the common use of these resources.

supply: self org of resources

demand: self sufficiency of people


The term for this dynamic equilibrium between people and their environment, which points the way out of our supply-demand matrix, is biocapacity. Biocapacity expresses the intrinsic value of sustainability within an ecosystem. It is based on the thresholds of resources which can be sustained in an environment as measured against the allocations of resources sufficient to meet the needs of its population. Through this ecosystem value, biocapacity offers direct indicators and guidelines to help us organize our own sufficiency through the steadily fluctuating, self-adjusting metabolism of society as a living system.

have/need ness


2014 – (30 min video) – What’s Next for Our Global Commons – with David Bollier and James Quilligan

What are our Commons, how are they being exploited and what can be done?


5 min – j: on privatizations taking us into enclosures

6 min – d: commons comes in as useful way to intervene.. gives us a vocab that talks about shared wealth.. that shouldn’t be marketized.. how can we show that the language of the commons describes enumerable phenom.. ie: digital; indigenous resource; et al.. yet many textbooks make no mention of commons beyond the tragedy

why not everything..as commons.. ie: sans money?

7 min – j: bridge for me has been.. commons have pre existed.. since beginning of time.. it’s the market and the state that have emerged in the mean time.. crowded out all our cognitive thinking around what was pre existing.. so the challenge for us is a big mind stretch to get back to the pre existent realities.. t when we say.. what are the commons..

d: which is why this is not a matter of politics/policy per se.. it’s in our minds/language/culture.. trying to understand that it’s at that deep level.. of re configuring our mental software almost.. as well as our psychic connections to explain it.. it cuts very deeply if you take the commons seriously.. it’s not just something that policy makers should graple with

again.. let’s go deep enough to go it.. sans money

8 min – j: in a way .. it’s the story we tell about ourselves.. and the story of how we *define human nature.. but it’s also the fact that we **don’t have a consistent plan for being able to roll out that story into meaningful policy.. that makes coherence between the self and the other and the creative environment

*human nature ness

**let’s try this

d: very well put.. we are so enthralled to homo economicus.. the individual/rational utility maximizing person who is the fable of econ.. is an *erroneous notion of what human beings are.. because evolutionary scientist will tell us that we are social creatures.. and that **our very id comes from being in a community and that commons have been with us from the beginning of human species..

*black science of people/whales law

**maté basic needs.. community

9 min – d: so .. can we acknowledge these realities in how we approach governance ..and production.. and start to find a language to acknowledge this rather than pretend that neoliberal norms about individualism and being to atomized are true.. because they’re not

why governance..?  why production..?

well.. need both.. a and a..

j: i often think about laissez faire capitalism.. referring to rational expectations.. and human reason.. it’s all based on reasonable approaches.. is it reasonable to import food from half way around the world..?.. seriously.. is economics really about reason.. or is it about the well-being that it can provide to society.. isn’t that what’s really going on w economics..

laissez faire: letting things take their own course..abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.

like letting things take own course.. but that begs we not enclose that freedom in a measuring/monetary ecosystem

10 min – d: there is no objectivity.. we’re immersed in reality.. we have these relationships that are emotional/subjective.. and so in some ways it goes as deep as trying to validate those inclinations.. spiritual/emotional/psychic/subjective.. as important to this discussion of how human beings save themselves and the world..

11 min – d: elinor ostrom was of course the pioneer in doing a lot of the field work in demo ing that small scale natural resource commons are entirely viable.. you see them (the ie’s) everywhere.. but the phenomena hasn’t been validated intellectually or in policy so much


12 min – d: all of this is about self organized cooperation.. a framework for developing sustainable consensus.. which is *not exploitative and grossly unequal.. so it is a paradigm for holistically.. over the long term.. managing things.. getting out of the strict private property notions.. into notions of stewardship.. which implicitly means.. long term and community.. as opposed to individualistic and self serving

self org ness.. as framework for consensus..  via ie: 2 convos

*begs we listen to all the voices.. ie: as it could be

13 min – j: self org for me is right at the heart of what we’re really talking about here.. because the traditional argument has been that people are too ill-equipped and too ignorant to manage their own resources.. and that’s what the commons movement has shown.. that it’s not true.. but at the same time.. it’s not that it’s just an alternative.. it’s actually an evolutionary process.. because nature self orgs.. nature is not as chaotic as some people expect that it is.. major principles of self org that really guide bio for ie.. and econ needs to move closer and closer to bio models.. so.. natural boundaries becoming more and more important than political boundaries

organism as fractal.. and why we haven’t yet gotten to global equity (haven’t let go of control enough)

14 min – d: starting to understand that many traditional lenses we use to look at world are inaccurate.. we look at them in static ways.. as objects.. when in fact.. we should be thinking about flows.. relationships.. dynamic – how changing they are.. and they’re nested.. w/in diff spheres.. so .. a very diff way of conceptualizing how the world generates wealth.. human communities are naturally generative.. it’s not as if they need a market or a state to tell them to do something.. so part of this is about recognizing what is really quite natural.. and giving it the room to evolve and grow..t

spaces of permission.. w nothing to prove..

already in us ness.. holmgren indigenous law

15 min – j: it seems that local communities and regional communities should become self sufficient to the extent that they can before going out and trading w the rest of the world.. that turns ricardian paradigm of international trade and comparative advantage completely backwards.. but it seems to me.. that’s the direction we need to go during the 21st cent.. otherwise.. we’re going to be creating resource wars between the various states of the world over the resources that they actually share in common.. but squabble over because where the sovereign boundaries cut the bioregions in half

d: and the reason that inversion you talk about is so important is because it creates a basic unit of stability that’s ecologically sustainable.. that can be built upon.. as opposed to creating units that are simply colonies from which one is always extracting resources for the larger market econ.. in other words can become foundational building block for economically stable econ

16 min – j: i don’t think this obviates (removes) the role of business and govt.. they certainly have to be changed.. but.. *i don’t see this as a direct threat to business and govt.. what i see is an evolving model where the commons becomes a .. i wouldn’t necessarily say an equal player.. but i would say.. part of the same kind of dynamic.. in the mix.. w market and govt

*i don’t see it as a threat.. but i don’t see them still in existence.. ie: 1\ this other way is what people in business and govt crave as well.. and 2\ i think the do need to be gone.. i see them as the measuring/controlling piece that is cancerous to humanity

d: i agree.. there’s 2 important points *1\ the commons is not incompatible w the state and market and businesses.. but i think a lot of ways in which the state and market now operate will obviously have to change and come to respect the particular value that the commons brings to the table.. in achieving things that neither the market nor the state can achieve.. the state a centralized/b/rule-driven enterprise that may not have local knowledge..  and markets being so primarily focused on monetization and private property rights.. that it can’t understand the value created thru collective relationships.. so ..

*i think it is.. i think that’s why we haven’t gotten to equitable (everyone getting a go everyday) common ing yet

17 min – d: ..so finding a new equilibrium between market state and commons is a key thing to develop..

again.. i believe that thinking is why we haven’t yet gotten to global equity

d: but the other point is .. you’re right.. 2\ we need to imagine new macro institutions and *infra’s that can facil the commons at small scale.. because some of these small commonses need first of all .. protection and support from the larger framework.. but second of all .. that framework is important for its growth.. one could not imagine.. just to take a metaphor.. the internet functioning w/o this superstructure..of infra.. to allow people to come together.. and i think.. *we don’t yet have that governance infra at the macro level to support commons.. and we need to explore that..t

let’s’ try  *2 convos that io dance.. as the day.. as infra/superstructure of infra.. to allow people to come together..

18 min – j: this needs to be put on a new footing.. and i believe that bioregionalism will really inform this new kind of multi lateralism.. and at the same time.. people at local levels.. even in the commons movement.. look at the international institutions.. and they vilify them.. and there’s great reason to vilify the world bank and the imf..et al.. but in vilifying them.. local people set up their own self sufficiency as: we are going to hunker down in our self sufficient environ.. and ignore all those international institutions that are creating the mayhem for us.. because it’s our only way of surviving.. creating our own id/indigenous-wealth.. but at same time.. *(it’s) setting up a new kind of adversity between the local and the global.. which is not health for the local people in developing this self sufficiency because the fact is.. *we do need international institutions.. but ones that are more amenable to the commons and actually are supporting what’s happening on the ground rather than ripping it off.. but it doesn’t mean at local level we should be becoming anti globalization/globalism.. **create an international architecture in a way that would be truly supportive of self sufficient regional/local econs.. moving forward the prospects of the commons

bioregionalism: advocacy of the belief that human activity should be largely restricted to distinct ecological and geographical regions

*k.. not sure about verbiage.. but yeah.. need this to be global systemic change.. so.. again.. let’s’ try  **2 convos that io dance.. as the day.. as infra/institution/whatever

20 min – d: i think part of the problem is that the commons movement has to mature and develop more.. to develop an international vision of what the commons movement consists of these days.. i think it’s more a proto movement that is still coalescing and trying to find coherence.. but it consists of a highly eclectic variety of diff commoners.. yet they do share many fundamental values (lists ie’s)..  a lot of these diff movement have not found each other.. started to develop a shared language.. let alone developing the policy/institutional proposals for facilitating the commons sector.. so i think we are kind of in a gap right now in trying to move to that new space/direction..

siemens glue law..  maté basic needs.. as glue.. via 2 convos

21 min – j: yeah.. the gap is somewhat troubling for me personally.. because i see the private sector moving way out.. staying several steps ahead of where some of the discourse is going around the commons.. in fact learning from the discourse around the commons.. to begin to say.. *well.. we are really talking about commons eventually.. but let’s collateralize the commons to work back into the market place.. which is.. one reason i don’t think this ‘green econ’ per se really works.. because we say we’re going for the environmental by raising prices.. which means we’re actually marketizing the cost of goods and services.. and the fact is.. we’re reverting back to the marketing system anyway thru this process of trying to establish a green econ

*that’s an ie of why we have to let go of state and market..

22 min – d: and i’ll mention.. the analog for that.. is the so called.. sharing econ..  ie: phone apps for taxi service.. rent out extra room.. you can marketize so many aspects of things.. well in some ways.. this is creating greater precarious ness.. where everybody is a freelancer who earns this (tiny) much.. not driving sharing so much as capital can get a lot of free work at a discount.. *so there’s real challenge in protecting the commons as commons.. as opposed to simply marketizing it and calling it sharing.. t

*again.. why we have to let go of state and market..  disengage from irrelevants

23 min – j: so.. they’re rediscovering commons.. but they’re turning it around and saying.. we’re doing the right thing.. but it’s privatization and more enclosure to the commons..

which will always happen if we don’t let go of measuring/validating transactions/people

d: so part of the challenge is to really maintain the integrity of commons as commons as opposed to simply being a helpmate for capital to do its things more efficiently w less overhead costs..

j: people profit planet always reverts back to the market system.. and that’s the biggest problem i have w green econ.. it doesn’t accomplish the commons effectively.. and that is really the challenge right now.. and partly to educate the people in the environ movement that maybe they’re going down a course by following the idea that.. raise the prices of goods.. and then you’re going to be able to green the planet.. to a more commons based perspective..

24 min – d: the real challenge.. even many well meaning environmentalists can’t quite go there because.. to assert some of these things is to immediately marginalize yourself politically.. or to be on the fringe.. or a pariah (outcast).. and so there’s a real challenge of .. *how do you assert these radically diff terms for understanding the world/value in a political culture that immediately shunts you to the side.. this is a serious challenge.. how do we incubate these diff ways of seeing..t.. give them validity.. recognition.. help them grow.. i don’t have the answer.. but i think that’s what we need to be able to do somehow..

begs we leap.. all of us at once.. (assuming we all crave this other way).. so begs a mech to facil the chaos of 7 bn people leaping to a nother way to live

25 min – j: i think it’s partly perception, *id, **org ing ourselves around this.. self org of communities.. w the aim of self reliance.. that’s a start.. but it’s a big challenge

*curioisty as id/label

**org’d/facil’d by 2 convos

d: i think a lot of it is going to come from outside the existing framework by newcomers.. or the un organized people who.. you know.. the occupy world did not work thru lobbying congress.. they created a diff center of gravity.. and the world came to them.. just as linux was more effective fighting microsoft that the doj/antitrust-lawsuit.. a diff set of gravity..

rev of everyday life .. rev in reverse.. ness

26 min – d: so i think creating these diff centers of gravity outside the established matrix of power/policy.. and once that can reach a certain scale/size/credibility.. the rest of the world can’t ignore it.. and then it can indeed become a magnet for alt energies.. that’s my sort of pet theory for how it might happen

yes.. model a nother way.. but begs.. a mech simple enough that 7 bn could use today.. centered around a problem/need that 7 bn would resonate w today.. w/in a system that fractals the natural/global ecosystem/organism.. or it won’t be for all.. which means it won’t sync enough to sustain us

j: pluralism and diversity is a very important part of this.. isn’t there a problem w diversity.. if everyone is being very diverse.. then.. what’s the social cohesion that brings them all together.. in the diversity.. what kind of self org do all the diverse communities w/in a region.. are they able to create that new kind of unity w/in the diversity

discrimination as equity..  2 convos as glue

27 min – d: important question.. i don’t have a strict answer.. but i have some suspicions.. 1\ the commons world.. by not being into max acquisition.. they have an ethic of sufficiency.. has less of an imperative to colonize.. take over.. appropriating others.. and can play nicely w each other.. and if you want to take an analogy.. the whole digital world has lots of commons communities that are mutually supportive (creative commons.. free software.. wikipedia.. open access publishing..) these people are distinct commons worlds.. but they collab w each other.. i can imagine versions of that playing out .. find a way to share.. w/o being competitive bind of max acquisition.. but.. this is a speculative territory for the future

what i’ve seen

28 mi – j: i think this is the time when commons movement really has to step up.. the only meaningful alt that is out there..

1 yr to try commons/common\ing

d: on need for more relationships building convos.. to broaden our own sense of possibility and imagination.. there’s a handful of opps for that to occur.. we need far more

29 min – j: the *role of ed is really critical.. i see that as the first point the commons movement really has to take under consideration .. in terms of the future.. really expanding the avenues for introducing these ideas to the wider public.. **and then i think.. social action is a significant thing that can follow..  but i think the challenge is enormous right now and i would strongly urge anyone who’s in the commons movement to begin to *build these alliances to really create greater sense of unity and social cohesions..

*unless we truly believe commons is the core..basic.. natural.. then no need for ed.. just freedom.. and listening.. in order to facil ie: curiosities..

**let’s try rev in reverse.. ness.. trust people.. set them (us all) free first..

***or design under the assumption that that interconnectedness is already there.. just need to free it up.. uncover it.. return the shells..

d: the commons is really at a time of great political alienation/impasse/dysfunction.. *the commons provides something you can do right now.. w/o permission of washington.. or anybody else.. there are things that can be done that are consequential.. ie: the transition movement is built on that premise.. of how do we deal w climate and peak oil.. we’re going to deal w it in our communities right now ourselves.. and **i think that’s the great wholesome appeal of the commons.. we can do stuff.. let’s do it.. and that can become catalytic over time if you get enough people to engage upon those commons projects..

*well not all of us.. or we’d be doing it.. and i do think that all of us ness .. matters.. in order for the dance to dance.. (sync et al)

transition commons

**i think the appeal is .. we can do stuff.. yes.. but huge roadblock.. not until we’re all.. everyone of us.. truly free.. otherwise.. the dance won’t ever dance.. the glue.. won’t ever stick..

j: that’s our ace in the hole

exactly.. and why focusing on something 7 bn people crave today.. (because sync matters).. and why something that requires no training matters


find/follow James:

link facebook

asheville, nc

on kosmos site:


James Bernard Quilligan has been an analyst and administrator in the field of international development since 1975.

on p2p foundation site:


I was a student radical at Kent State University (US) in the late 1960’s, deeply inspired by Marcuse, Adorno, and Marx. At the age of 19, I was in a crowd of students that were fired upon by the Ohio National Guard. It was May 4, 1970. We were protesting President Nixon’s announcement that the United States had invaded Cambodia, as well as the sequestration of our university campus by these Guardsmen at the behest of the Governor of Ohio. While many of my beloved friends were killed and injured in this brutal and unwarranted attack, I was blessed to escape the bullets. But my existential wounds were deep. That evening I vowed to spend the rest of my life fighting the system that produced this tragedy. I studied international economics, international relations and philosophy through graduate and post-graduate work, with the goal of understanding and redressing the injustices suffered by the world’s poorest people

maté basic needs.. to address poverty ness


Most people, particularly on the left, have no idea how close we actually came to changing the international system during the period 1978-1982. I do not exaggerate in saying that it was truly within reach; but, sadly, we lacked genuine support at the grassroots and we trusted too much in the governments of developing nations. As an organizer in the common heritage and international development movements, I was witness to a history that has never been adequately explained or understood. When those efforts collapsed, I was devastated: young as I was, I recognized that an historic opportunity had slipped away.

let’s not let another.. slip by


My biggest complaint about grassroots movements is that their necessary and legitimate commitment to localism (or regionalism) often precludes big picture thinking — and in throwing out the hierarchical dualism of the Market State, they adopt a new dualism of local Vs. global. It’s an old story, deeply rooted in our illusion-creating capacities: human beings replace one dichotomy with another, which is equally as fractured.

binary ness


I’m not certainly not devaluing the significance of tribalism, communities or localism at all. I’m just a grassroots boy from Canton, Ohio. What I’m saying is that, in our parochialism, we are failing to express our global nature as commoners, and our production of intersubjectivity will continue to be repressed until it is the authentic expression of our global humanity. My view has always been that we can’t know where we’re going unless we can see the big picture, and we can’t see the big picture unless we know where we came from. For example, the new commons movement has not even begun to explore its own roots in the Common Heritage and Natural Law. We haven’t developed an epistemology, an ontology, or a theory of value for the commons. And we clearly don’t have a clue what commoning means at the global level. Let’s get real: global does not mean top-down. Global means all of us working together to end our personal dualism, draw our power from the evolutionary forces of surplus commoning, and bust the union of the Market State.”

a nother way

1 yr to try commons/common\ing

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