Commons Sense

Collectivism is a way forward. It’s just the “ism” that isn’t and the consensus that never shows up that somehow take things in a more tangential direction. Peter Manley maps his journey to sustainable managed common resources and it’s a long way to go.

Commons, collective ownership, sharing resources: that sounds like a perfect solution to sustainably managing common resources with common purpose. Perhaps so, but the local resource governance of commons that so inspired Elinor Ostrom’s eight core design principles1 were not established overnight. The governance and economics were evolved over many generations through considerable growing pains to establish the systems studied by Ostrom. Also, let us not forget the many commons that failed to make the cut, Easter Island being an oft-cited example. Each established, sustainably managed commons has its own unique journey and story to tell.

My own journey into collectivism started when I joined Cloughjordan Eco-village in 2011. At that time I lived in France, so it was something of a leap of faith to join this intentional community in Tipperary, Ireland. In the seven years that followed I have learned a considerable amount about human behavior and Irish company law. However, I’m still grappling with the basics when it comes to understanding the ethics and principles of how this project manages its common resources.

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