On the Commons

Commons Magazine

On the Commons
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Commons Magazine

Commons Magazine is your gateway to the latest thinking and action in the commons movement. We pay close attention to how communities around the world are discovering the commons as a way to solve problems and to share what belong to all of us equitably – including future generations. You’ll find profiles of everyday people making a difference, groundbreaking ideas that will prove useful in your own life, as well as current news examined in fresh ways through a commons lens.

November 2005 Edition

Product Bias: The End Of The Romance?

From iPods to cell phones, new technology is drastically altering our lives. Yet the media only pays attention to what's good about it, ignoring the considerable cultural side effects.

FCC Commissioner Copps laments telecom mergers

Even as the internet opens up the possibilities for greater communications access, telecommunications companies are trying to lock down innovations like skype. Even the FCC chief is concerned about the implications of telecom mergers.

Google Print and the Future of Copyright Law

Google plans to make millions of out-of-print books available online – while stodgy book publishers invoke copyright law to thwart the public interest and veto the future.

October 2005 Edition

What the Environmental Justice Movement Might Teach Us

The environmental justice movement highlights the often-overlooked race and class issues entwined with ecological destruction.

Identity, Reputation and Social Currency

Public reputation is another element of the commons, and the internet has found a creative way to maintain it in the cyber age.

Links, Nodes and Tags

How self-organizing social networks evolve on the internet.

Self-Organizing Social Networks

The rise of social networks could have a profound impact on virtually every sector of society.

One-Fifth of the Human Genome is Now Owned

Twenty percent of the human genome is now patented. This raises questions about the future of scientific research and public health, and shows the clear need for an open-source movement in biology.

Oxytocin, Reciprocity and Civil Society

Scientific research shows we are hard-wired for cooperation and empathy as much as for competition and aggression.

The Walt Scale of Crass Commercialism

A new way to measure the scale of tacky commercialization in a place – the Walt scale.

Social Emotions and the "Big Man" Model of Social Organization

The little-understood topic of social emotions has big implications for our lives and even the economy.

This Land Is Their Land

Bush Administration policies amount to a land-grab by corporations to move in on national parks and other public lands that every American owns.

U.S. Thumbs Nose at World – Again

Alone among nations, the U.S. opposes a UNESCO treaty helping small nations and indigenous peoples protect their cultural heritages.

Cooperation and Self-Interest as Evolutionary Issues

More evidence that cooperative behavior enhances a group's chance of survival in evolution.

America’s Public Universities: “Public Control is Slipping Away”

America's public universities – the envy of the world – are quietly being privatized so as to serve corporate sponsors, rather than the public.

A Renaissance of the Science Commons

Scientific Renaissance: Academic scientists find a powerful new way to overcome relentless market enclosures — by creating a growing network of online commons.

Trust and Reciprocity: A Platform for Evolutionary Success

When it comes to human nature, it's hard to generalize. Research shows that 25% of people act exclusively out of self-interest, while others are motivated in part by altruism.

Wabi-Sabi and Market Culture

The Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi celebrates the imperfection of life.

Who Owns the Beach?

Surf's up! A string of court victories reaffirms the public's right to enjoy beaches in the U.S.

Human Nature and the Commons

The search to explain human nature leads us to a greater appreciation of the role of trust and reciprocity in our evolution.

When Marketing Masquerades as Philanthropy

What's in a name? Everything is for sale as public schools seek corporate funding for basic programs. The football team at Vernon Hills High School in Chicago plays on Rust-Oleum Field.

Harriet Miers and the Market Stalls of Manila

In the Philippines, bootleg music and movies is a booming business. What that means in the age of globalization.

Can "Bohemian Chic" Be Owned?

Welcome to the Boho commons: Wal-Mart and a chic chain wrangle over peasant skirts.