About Us

What is "the commons?"

The phrase "the commons" refers to the things which belong to community or, even more paramount, are morally the rightful domain for equal use by all individuals. Parks, national forests, public roads and highways, mineral resources, water, and a people's culture are generally held to be part of the commons.

In the long-ago days of humanity the whole world was the commons. Just as there was and is no legal barrier to plants and animals migrating where they can, nothing but the exertion required restricted early humans from migrating where they willed.

But the plain fact is, the moment two or more people want to use the same piece of the earth, the question arises, "Who will get to use it?" Kings said they had "divine right." Bullies used the sword. More clever men "sold" society on the idea of buying and selling private right to the land.

The truth remains, however, that all people are equally children of the earth. Legal shenanigans, brute force, and pompous nonsense notwithstanding, the commons includes the entire material universe. Of course, the question remains, who will, from time to time, get to use any particular piece of the commons?

Most, if not all modern times political systems evolved in response to property rights questions regarding the commons. We propose that with the privatization of the commons, significant relative poverty materialized. This social distress elicited partisan response arguing for more or less public responsibility for those in economic distress. Modern politics and ideology are convulsed by the conundrum, "What is private? What is public?" What should be taxed, and how much? How big or small should government be?

Who We Are

We are a group of educators committed to a rigorous public discussion of the commons. We're well-read in economic history and theory, friends of the writings of the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, and Henry George. All of these thinkers recognized the significance of the commons, though they differed in the extent of their advocacy regarding the commons.

Our Work

We produce low cost seminars presenting an overview of the principles upon which all economies function.

These seminars are distinguished by their robust consideration of the commons.

We also produce walking tours, as well as occasional events highlighting the prominence of The Commons in nearly every aspect of human experience.