Open Access Property

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= to be distinguished clearly from Common Property Regimes: Open Access Property is property that is not owned by anyone.


From the Wikipedia:

"It is non-excludable (no one can exclude anyone else from using it) and non-rival (one person's use of it does not prevent others from simultaneously using it). Open-access property is not managed by anyone, and access to it is not controlled. There is no constraint on anyone using open-access property (excluding people is either impossible or prohibitively costly). The tragedy of the commons is a misnomer. It should really be called the tragedy of open access. 'Open-access property may exist because ownership has never been established, because the state has legislated it, or because no effective controls are in place, or feasible, ie, the cost of exclusion outweighs the benefits. The state can sometimes effectively convert open access property into private, common or public property by legislating to define rights and enforce them'. Examples of open-access property are the atmosphere or ocean fisheries.

Common Property is property that is owned by a group of individuals. Access, use, and exclusion are controlled by the joint owners. True commons can break down, but, unlike open-access property, common property owners have greater ability to manage conflicts through shared benefits and enforcement.




The difference between open access and defined property rights (private or common property), by contrast, is the difference between an unregulated and a regulated condition. The difference is fundamental.

- Achim Lerch [1]


"For Stevenson, a “private property, common property, open access trichotomy” ultimately exists. He compares these three forms in terms of group limitation and extraction limitation. Characteristic of the common property form is that both the group and the extent of resource use are limited by the individual members."

- [2]

Source: STEVENSON, G.G: Common Property Economics. A General Theory and Land Use Applications. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.1991, p.58


Stevenson compares these three forms in terms of group limitation and extraction limitation. [3]

3 Property Institutions:

Open Access:

- Limited: members only, unlimited extraction - Unlimited: open to anyone, unlimited extraction

Common Property: members only, extraction limited by rules

Private Property: one, extraction limited by individual decision