MARCH 3: L. Bruni, P. Santori, V. Rotondi – Introduction and Presentation of the EoF School: ” The economy of the last time“
“What if the economy of sine proprio was that of the era of common goods? Will it be the oikonomia of Francis that will save both us and the earth in the end?”
Abstract: Commons have gradually become scarce and crucial, and they are still too absent from the culture and practice of economics and politics. Common goods made their first appearance in economics in 1911. After a long eclipse they again appeared at the end of the past century in the work of Elinor Ostrom, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2009. Commons are essentially a matter of relationships, because they are relationships between people mediated by goods. Without attention to the relational dimension of life and the economy, and without a relationship that transcends time and generations, commons first cannot be seen, then they cannot be understood, and finally they perish. A capitalist economy must work hard to understand commons because, generally speaking, it does not address problems in a historical or geographical perspective, it sees distinct individuals rather than relationships, and it is defined entirely within the register of male rationality. So the main – if not the only – economic prospect on commons is their destruction, beginning with Hardin’s now classic 1968 text on the “tragedy of the commons”.
For all these reasons, commons are difficult to manage by the capitalist market alone. At the very least it is sad, if not outrageous, to continue to silently and resignedly watch speculators who appropriate water, common land, forests, raw materials, and public land in cities. Their quest for maximum profit from goods that do not belong to them, but to everyone, becomes an additional implicit tax on the citizens, a tax that does not augment the cities’ funds but those of distant shareholders. When will our city governments create an alliance with civil society and businesses to manage the soil, water, greenswards, and streets in a nonprofit and efficient manner? When will States realize that the commodification (much more than privatization) of commons, from highways to public transportation, is a shortsighted course with little social and economic thought?