Typology of Global Commons-Lacking or Commons-Centric Institutions

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Cadell Last:

"Potential political forms of global institutions.

Global institutions Definitions/examples

(1) Neoliberal institutions: Contemporary globalization is guided via neoliberal institutions that were originally created under patronage of United States of America, and include structures like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization which have formed/are forming a global bureaucratic structure that is essentially anti-democratic,

  • A) enabling monopoly control of an international finance system designed to protect


  • B) sublimating all human activity into market activity,
  • C) creating barriers to access of basic necessities and
  • D) failing to address issues of economy-ecology sustainability.

(2) Keynesian institutions: One potential solution to the dominance of neoliberal institutions (1) would include a ‘Keynesian’ institutional construction project where a global state, presumably with top-down mechanisms characteristic of nation-states at the planetary level, would form enabling the democratic election of state officials, the regulation of global market activity, creation of a common monetary union, redistribution of income and wealth, and the organization of international state projects related to social and ecological welfare.

(3) Commons institutions: Another alternative potential solution to the dominance of neoliberal institutions (1) would be the creation of ‘commons institutions’, which, instead of forming a ‘top-down’ global state bureaucracy (2), would include the creation of ‘bottom-up’ distributed multi-level organizational forms that operated on A) various common property regimes (essentially striving for post-property regimes), B) functioned on principles of universal access (post-monetary), and C) multiple context-specific egalitarian-democratic management organizations related to resources and services that are inherently rival (i.e. scarce), and thus need management due to ‘tragedy of the commons’ problems. (Further exploration of the potential nature of ‘commons institutions’, see: Table 3)

(4) Anarchism (no global institutional forms)

Yet another potential solution to the dominance of neoliberal institutions (1) would simply be to negate the entire notion of the need for qualitatively novel large-scale political collectives (‘global institutions’ in either a Keynesian or Commons form) (2, 3) and instead direct focus towards the creation and management of locally self-organized egalitarian communities. However, such an approach leaves massive questions of how to approach the real existence of neoliberal institutions, as well as how to approach planetary problems of the common sphere."