Think like a Commoner!

Think like a Commoner!

coverbollierFew months ago I have written about a likely attempt of translating David Bollier’s “Think Like a Commoner” into italian.

David Bollier is an American author, blogger, policy strategist and international activist who has written extensively about the Commons. In 2002 he has co-founded Public Knowledge, whose mission is to preserve the openness of the Internet and the public’s access to knowledge. In 2003 he has founded website and has edited it until 2010, when he co-founded the Commons Strategies Group, whose primary purpose is to “help, consolidate and extend the many existing commons initiatives around the world”. In 2012 he has won the Berlin Prize in Public Policy for his work on the commons and nowadays he blogs at

Well, after having read its book I strongly encourage a translation, not only in italian but in many languages as possible, in order to fully let the message arrive to everyone.

Actually, Think like a Commoner represents, as the cover of the book states, a short but intensive and incisive introduction to the life of the Commons. It is an immediate and quick reading, in my opinion indispensable for all the economists, political scientists, jurists and all the people of the civil community who are tired of this kind of economy, the way in which the world is going on.

Bollier’s message is direct and shareable by anyone who is involved in trying to modify not only yhe rules, the legislations, but also the social relationships among the people of the civil society: “the language of the commons is so useful – states Bollier – It helps us to confront the pathological tendency of markets to force people, communities and nature to become fictional commodities in the market system”.

I am pretty sure that, for the ones who have read Think like a commoner, this will not be the last reading by Bollier or by other scholars, activists, academics who have written extensively on the matter of the Commons.

Eleven chapters, some tables at the end and lots of suggested further readings on the theme. The guide, I would love to talk to you about a guide, not a book, starts with a story, like a romance.

Bollier is flying somewhere in the world and her seatmate on the plane ask him “what do you do?”. The answer would leave everyone stucked. Actually Bollier replies that he studies the Commons and he works as an activist to try to protect them.

But in the ten following chapters, he reassures the readers, as he has reassured her seatmate on that plane. Through practical examples he illustrates what the Commons are, their history, their challenges, their issues and their connections with the market state, and most of all how would be possible a “peaceful” coexistence of the Commons in a world dominated by the rules of the capitalism, so in the market-based state.

Bollier points out that in the time of crisis in which we are living, is no more possible to hang the head and to continue to be dominated by that “old” rules. His mission, and the mission of who believes in a change, is to rediscover the Commons, that is why he fully examines in depth the issue of the enclosures. Both historically and critically, from the point of view of the enclosures of the Commons itself, the enclosures of public spaces and infrastructures and of knowledge and cultures.

He also analyzes the “tragedy myth of the commons”, stating that it represents a tyrrany and it is very interesting how the private property is nowadays an empire.

Here, I do not want to go in depth in the features of every chapter because I hope to have left curiosity in you but, if you share just one of the ideas I have mentioned above, just start to Think like a Commoner!