Toward a Commons-based Framework for Global Negotiations

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Article: The Commons of Mind, Life and Matter: Toward a Non-Polar Framework for Global Negotiations. By James Bernard Quilligan. Kosmos Journal, May 2010.



The Market State and the Liquidation of Biophysical Capital:

"The term commons was first used during the enclosure period in Britain when people were removed from their communal lands. Since then, commons have come to represent areas of co-governance and co-production that lie outside of the market and state sectors (or Market State), including food, water, clean air, energy, information, internet, culture, indigenous peoples’ rights and other concerns. The recent failures of the Doha Round of world trade talks, the UN Conference on the global economic crisis and the Copenhagen Summit on climate change have brought the commons into sharper focus. Since these community-managed resources are a primary source of economic, social and creative value, could they provide a meta-level context for global negotiations? Commons have different meanings, of course, because we associate them with different levels of scale. At community and regional levels, the commons are largely a territorial concept involving the local appropriation, use and benefit of a particular property; at the global level, it’s more of a functional concept involving sovereign resource management rather than questions of use and benefit. But the increasing openness of political systems and interconnectivity of economies and information networks has created new possibilities for multi-level management of the commons, requiring principles and linkages that reach from the local levels of social and political organization to higher levels of multilateral governance.

This article focuses on why the international community has been unable to bring the full range of commons issues and their representatives into strategic discussions. It calls for a new framework of global interaction and dialogue based on natural law. To create this metalogue on the global commons, world society must engage in a kind of non-dualism -- a recognition that the various beliefs, qualities, or practices which appear separate are actually part of the same phenomena. As on the individual level of consciousness and being where the ‘mind-body split’ is healed through introspection, global non-polarity will also require collective self-inquiry, dialogue and reconciliation on the ontological nature of world community. Ontology means being present. If global citizens, their representatives and institutions are sourcing the vast potentials of their mental, natural and physical commons, this would be a significant step toward global non-polarity." (