Free, Fair, and Alive – The Insurgent Power of the Commons

David Bollier, Silke Helfrich
Level: advanced
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Perspective: Other
Topic: Commons
page count: 448 pages

Blurb

The power of the commons as a free, fair system of provisioning and governance beyond capitalism, socialism, and other -isms.

From co-housing and agroecology to fisheries and open-source everything, people around the world are increasingly turning to 'commoning' to emancipate themselves from a predatory market-state system.

Free, Fair, and Alive presents a foundational re-thinking of the commons -- the self-organized social system that humans have used for millennia to meet their needs. It offers a compelling vision of a future beyond the dead-end binary of capitalism versus socialism that has almost brought the world to its knees.

Written by two leading commons activists of our time, this guide is a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook. Highly readable and full of colorful stories, coverage includes:

  • Internal dynamics of commoning
  • How the commons worldview opens up new possibilities for change
  • Role of language in reorienting our perceptions and political strategies
  • Seeing the potential of commoning everywhere.

Free, Fair, and Alive provides a fresh, non-academic synthesis of contemporary commons written for a popular, activist-minded audience. It presents a compelling narrative: that we can be free and creative people, govern ourselves through fair and accountable institutions, and experience the aliveness of authentic human presence.

Book summary

Free, Fair & Alive is a foundational re-thinking of the commons, the self-organized social systems that human beings have used for millennia to meet their needs. From fisheries and forests to alternative currencies and open source everything, people are increasingly using “commoning” to emancipate themselves from a predatory market/state system and take charge of their lives.

Ambitious, sophisticated, and resolutely grounded in everyday realities, Free, Fair and Alive present a compelling vision of a future that can actually work. Written by two highly experienced commons activists, this book is at once a penetrating cultural critique, table-pounding political treatise, and practical playbook for building a new world of commoning.


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This project is brought to you by the Network for Pluralist Economics (Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V.).  It is committed to diversity and independence and is dependent on donations from people like you. Regular or one-off donations would be greatly appreciated.