James Quilligan the renowned commons thinker, activist, and founder of the Global Commons Trust, gave the following talk at the Occupy Wall Street Forum on the Commons, February 16, 2012.
In this talk, he encouraged the audience to challenge Garrett Hardin’s definition of the Commons, as found in his 1968 article in Science Journal, ‘Tragedy of the Commons’. He explained that what Hardin described are, in fact, unclaimed and unorganised Common Pool Resources rather than commons. It is only when a group organizes such a Common Pool Resource that it becomes a commons. He said, “commons are inherited or created gifts that we organize, use and store in our lifetime through informal practices and rules which we pass on to future generations. Those rules have to do with preservation of the resource, access to the resource, use of the resource, governance of the resource and also the production of the resource.”