Center for Creating Commons Value and Values

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= The Center for Creating Commons Value and Values, under construction, is co-founded by Peter Bloom, prof. at the University of Essex



"The proposed Centre for “Creating Commons Value and Values” aims to produce a pioneering and global agenda for studying the theoretical and practical possibilities of how commons values based on principles of cooperation, collaboration, and open knowledge sharing can foster more egalitarian, inclusive, and participative 21st century economies, communities, and organisations.

Its core aim would be how to effectively manage and market “the commons” for addressing “grand challenges” of climate change, global inequality, international health crisis, and the political rise of Far-Right authoritarianism. This research agenda would provide impactful new knowledge in promoting cutting edge “post-capitalist” initiatives and sustainable “post-growth” development.

Across the world innovative “commons” ideas are beginning to positively challenge and transform social, economic, and political relations. Digital platforms and “wisdom of the crowd” algorithms are allowing citizens to directly impact city budgets and community decision-making; AI and big data are combining to potentially create sustainable, equitable, and resilient 21st century planned economies; 3D printing and local “maker spacers” reveal the potential to revolutionise manufacturing for meeting social need not just financial profit; employees and citizens are using digital knowledge sharing to collaboratively solve shared problems based on their diverse experience, wisdom, and expertise; “digital twin” technologies permit policy-makers and populations to make informed “future” decisions based on increasingly accurate predictive modelling.

Yet for these exciting “commons” values to be truly successful and impactful they must also rigorously study and evidence how to maximize their short and long term value creation. Notably, what are the best theories and methods for successfully managing “the commons”? How can we best account for and measure “commons” value? How can “commons” techniques and policies be sustainably financed and be used to cooperatively finance sustainability? How can “commons” values and knowledge be accessibly and practically promoted to populations and decision-makers as viable alternatives for addressing their problems?

The goal of this centre would, thus, be to understand how techniques like digital fabrication, open source problem-solving, peer to peer production, distributed manufacturing, AI driven “planned economies”, “digital commons”, and “platform democracies” can promote and create new types of economic and social value as well as shaping a liberating 21st global rights agenda. Just as importantly, it would strategically explore the various and diverse ways these “commons” values can be effectively “marketed” and spread as empowering alternatives to prevailing market based development models?

To do so, it would bring together an interdisciplinary set of scholars to organisationally, technologically, politically, sociologically, legally, and philosophically research the promotion of collaborative advantage, collective intelligence, and “open-source” problem solving locally, nationally, and globally. Specifically, it would draw on the expertise of academics across the Essex Business School, the wider Social Science Faculty, the Humanities, and Computer sciences. It would also seek to partner with a range of leading global academics, Universities, and organisations for this purpose.

It would be a distinctive Centre in its commitment to collecting, expanding, creating, and rigorously analysing the theory, methods, and praxis of successfully introducing, implementing, and spreading commons value for reducing inequality, fostering sustainability, and overcoming historical social division. In practice, the exploration of these themes will add vital knowledge to the growth of cooperatives and worker-owned firms, the perpetuation of new more resilient and "commons-based" economies as well future oriented visions of "post-work" societies incorporating technological advances in digital fabrication, digital knowledge sharing, big data, and artificial intelligence. These efforts will be especially important and urgent as we collectively seek to address the challenges of a post Covid-19 world which has shown the need to build more cooperative, empowered, and resilient communities locally, nationally, and globally.

What would make this centre so significant is that it would bring together wide-ranging academic and practical knowledge into the impactful study and application of commons-based values for innovatively and concretely improving goods, services, work, community, and governance. It would uniquely focus on the theoretical and practical implications of these "post-capitalist" principles for transforming economic management, efficiently meeting individual and community needs, fostering more effective public policies, and expanding 20th century human rights. Further, it would take seriously questions of how such commons ideas and initiatives can be properly marketed, maximize their financial and environmental sustainability, and establish alternative cooperative based global value chains. This vital research would be complemented by the innovative development, design, and testing of a range of needed "commons technologies" from wisdom of the crowd platforms for enhancing democracy to data rich "digital twins" modelling for optimising economic performance and social impact to AR empowered community building and knowledge sharing to the cutting edge use of computing for developing more inclusive and valuable collective intelligence and the creation of “automated” planned economies."


"project that the Centre is working on – an innovative Community Toolkit called “Shared Futures” enabling communities to co-create positive change together. It includes an augmented reality mobile App, a dedicated community website, and a Raspberry Pi powered local interface network for consultation and collaboration."