How deep should our post-CoVID transformations be? What alternatives to some of our destructive practices and deleterious politics are emerging? In this dialogue, Godelieve van Heteren (Health Systems Governance Collaborative) meets David Bollier, one of the world’s leading activists, writers and strategic thinkers in the global Commons movement. David was the co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group, which works to promote the commons internationally. He was founding Editor of Onthecommons.org and a Fellow of On the Commons from 2004 to 2010. Currently, he is director of the Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, Massachusetts.
For over twenty years, in writings, blogs, films and public exchanges, David has been exploring commoning as a new paradigm of economic, political and social practice and culture. Commoning, in his words, is ‘an ancient but newly rediscovered way of meeting our needs and serving our communities. It helps to rediscover how collaboration can be a very productive process in its own right. It fosters different social systems to meet our needs as humans and planet, addressing the social and governance dynamics, and economic and ecological challenges of today, and offering alternative ways of engaging with the world.
David’s twelve books encompass a long journey. With for example Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009), which describes the rise of free software, free culture, and the movements behind open business models, open science, open educational resources and new modes of Internet-enabled citizenship. Or his Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Commons (2014), that was translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Korean and Greek, with a Chinese translation forthcoming. Three other fairly recent books are The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State (2012, with Silke Helfrich); Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights and the Commons (2013 CUP, with the late Professor Burns H. Weston) and Free, Fair and Alive. The Insurgent Power of the Commons (2019, with Silke Helfrich). David Bollier also hosted the educational movie This Land Is Our Land: The Fight to Reclaim the Commons.