Difference between revisions of "ECC2013"

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* [[Commons Culture Communications - 2013]]
* [[Commons Culture Communications - 2013]]
* [[Commons for Public Health - 2013]]
* [[Commons for Public Health - 2013]]
* [[Commons Education Commons]]
== How to propose a side event ==
== How to propose a side event ==

Revision as of 16:23, 23 February 2013

= An Overview of The Economics of the Commons Conference (ECC) on May 22 – 24, 2013,

The practical information is at the bottom of this page.



Exploring New Ideas, Practices and Alliances ; Berlin, Germany, May 22–24, 2013

Working Draft of Program, February 6, 2013


One of the most significant impediments to positive social change is the entrenched power of market-fundamentalism as an economic and political paradigm. The prevailing dogma is that only a scheme of individual self-interest, expansive individual property rights, market exchange and globalized free trade can advance human well-being. This view has increasingly been called into question as the predatory dynamics of the market economy became clear and as its threats to the biosphere have become more acute.

ECONOMICS AND THE COMMON(S): FROM SEED FORM TO CORE PARADIGM seeks to open up some new vistas in politics, economics and culture by exploring the commons as an alternative worldview and provisioning system. A rich array of commons – in nature, cities, civic life, the Internet, and many other realms – are showing that commons can provide stable, equitable and ecologically benign alternatives to conventional markets. The Economics and the Commons Conference (ECC) will expand and empower this work by exploring the commons as a coherent field of inquiry and action. It will convene approximately 240 commoners -- researchers, practitioners and advocates from around the world -- to explore the relationship of conventional economics and the commons, showcase key actors and initiatives, and devise plans for moving the commons paradigm forward. Special care will be taken to avoid a “sectoralization” of commons discussion because we believe that a coherent “general narrative” of the commons nurtures global social change and applies across many different sectors of commoning.

Among the questions to be asked: What core principles of commoning can be identified across different resource domains? What makes a commons so generative? In what circumstances can commons-based provisioning models substitute for conventional markets, or interact constructively with markets? How can the protection and re-creation of the commons be made an integrated part of productive processes?

The Economics and the Commons Conference (ECC) will be hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbf) in cooperation with the Commons Strategies Group, The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation and Remix the Commons. The event will take place at the headquarters of hbf in Berlin from May 22 to 24, 2013. Optional side-events on topics such as communications strategies for the commons, governance of global commons, and others, will be held on May 21-22 and 25.

Goals of the Conference

The ECC seeks to show the breadth and feasibility of commons-based provisioning and forge a coherent narrative and analysis about it and the next steps for action.

Substantive discussion at the conference will therefore focus on several key themes:

  • The commons as a way to move beyond conventional economics;
  • Alternative economic and provisioning models;
  • The transformations needed to move to a new type of economy.

Conference Streams

The conference will feature six separate Streams with plenary keynote talks and breakout sessions to probe issues in greater depth. The ECC and its Streams are designed to foster dialogue, collaboration, creative thinking and follow-up action, and not just “expert” presentations. The six Streams are:

1. Land and Nature

Throughout the world, neoliberal economic policies have had destructive effects, resulting both in the degradation of natural environments as well as reduction in fair access to shared resources. A parallel example of this can be well seen in the aggressive privatization of water systems in large metropolitan areas like Paris, Berlin and Naples, which has resulted in price increases, lower quality water, reduced access to water and less democratic control. Although a flourishing anti-privatization movement in both Europe and the Global South has arisen, much of this advocacy does not have the analytical and theoretical tools to push for a paradigm shift in the economic organization of our natural resources as a commons. This stream will bring together legal scholars, ecological economists and commons advocates to develop commons-based policies and models for governing shared natural resources, especially water and land.

Stream Coordinator: Saki Bailey (Italy).

2. The Future of Labor in a World of Commons

Currently, we witness two parallel phenomena: Global development policies cause the loss of use rights to the natural commons as the livelihood support system for an estimated two billion people. At the same time, an ecology of collaborative production is (re)emerging beyond markets, money and organizational hierarchies as we know them. The lines between production and consumption are becoming blurred by social practices, which are based on sharing and (indirect) reciprocity. Such practices indicate innovative answers to the fundamental question how we (re)produce our livelihoods. They aim to solve problems and meet human needs. These developments do not only provide economic, cultural and political alternatives to both, globalized capital(ism) and “national-developmentalism”, they also point to the transcendence of the conditions that historically forced a division between social reproduction and economic production. This helps us see more clearly the structural causes of gender inequality and externalization of care and nature services. While most unionists tend to focus on the labor market and a fair distribution of available employment in our world of today, the labor of the future is no longer a “product” that is bought and sold in the market. Labor can be seen and managed as a commons. This is the vision we wish to discuss and develop further.

Stream coordinator: Heike Löschmann (Germany).

3. Treating Knowledge, Culture and Science as Commons

Science, and recently, free software, are paradigmatic knowledge commons; copyright and patent are paradigmatic enclosures. But our focus on paradigmatic examples and the language of “intellectual property” and “openness” may actually limit our imaginations about what might be possible. If we took the commons seriously, for example, we might begin to see that copyright and patent are not just knowledge enclosures, but “modern” ways of enforcing privileges and inequalities in what may be known and communicated. Similarly, that open access and use is not necessarily an emancipation, but rather a shift in control to those who own the digital platform. This Stream will attempt to (re)consider and (re)conceptualize the free/libre/open/commons movements from a strategic and commons-first perspective.

Stream Coordinator: Mike Linksvayer (USA).

4. Money, Markets, Value and the Commons

The dominant economy is to a huge extent market-fundamentalist and money driven. It is built around unsustainable principles like extraction, competition, profit and exponential growth and fueled by interest bearing credit creation through a profit oriented banking system. A Commons Economy is driven by other motives and proposes a different mindset and different ordering categories than capital, ownership and money. Some commoners tend to imagine a Commons Economy as a world beyond (artificial) scarcity, rendering money and markets irrelevant, which suggests, that commons can function without money as we know it. Others focus on redefining the role of money or how to design money itself as a commons. But all agree that if a Commons Economy still has credit, money and markets (or at least marketplaces), they will be very different in character than our current economy.

The objective of this Stream is to integrate the different “paths of imagination” towards a Commons Economy, and to get a clearer picture of the architecture and underlying design principles of a commons-oriented market places and exchange systems.

Stream Coordinator: Ludwig Schuster (Germany).

5. New Infrastructures for Commoning by Design

One of the main challenges in advancing commons as a stable paradigm is finding ways to develop commons-friendly infrastructures. We lack infrastructures that “by design” foster and protect new practices of commoning. Many existing systems, indeed, enable commons-unfriendly practices (e.g. fossil fuel-based individual transportation) or generate negative social and environmental impacts (e.g., nuclear power and even “clean” energy sources). While some infrastructures have progressive dimensions (using distributed networks, promoting local access), they may be minor parts of larger, regressive infrastructures that still depend upon individual transportation, centralized power grids and concentrated industrial structures. Yet there are important lessons to be learned from commons-based infrastructures such as Internet protocols, which have fostered the emergence of countless digital information commons. An urgent need of our time is to ensure that infrastructures will systematically encourage the formation and protection of commons. Stream Coordinator: Miguel Said Vieira (Brazil)

6. Life, Meaning and Spirituality

A culture of the commons requires that we do much more than change our economic thinking and economy. We must challenge the worldview and assumptions that lie at the heart of dominant economics, even in its “Green New Deal” flavors. The current worldview – a co-creation of liberal economic thought and Darwinistic theory – could be called “bioeconomics” because it understands living exchanges by means of objective laws acting on inanimate ecological or social atoms. This is a world predicated on an endless struggle for fitness, the absolute value of efficiency, and a subordination of subjectivity and experience to “objective” forces. Moving towards a culture of the commons means that we have to shift from a world of Newtonian, machine-like objects to one of cooperative agents constantly building meaningful relationships and exchanging gifts. If we follow some patterns being revealed by biological sciences, we could develop a new paradigm in which feeling, subjective meaning, value and beauty form the centerpiece of a new “existential ecology” focused on subjective relationships, not static objects alone. We might call this new commons-based perspective “Enlivenment.”

Stream Coordinator: Andreas Weber (Germany).

Conference Organizers

The Commons Strategies Group and Heinrich Böll Foundation are the joint organizers of this conference, which is an outgrowth of the landmark International Commons Conference (ICC) in Berlin in November 2010. That event brought together about 180 commons activists, academics and project leaders from 34 countries, and started a cross-disciplinary political and policy dialogue about the commons in diverse international settings.

The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation supported the International Commons Conference in 2010 as well


Side Events

A number of related side events will take place before, during and after the conference. List of Side Events:

How to propose a side event

Please provide us with your information by creating an entry for your event.

How to create a new entry:

  • 1. Login into this wiki, if you don't have an user you need to request one.
  • 2. Create a new article by entering it's name in the inputbox below (all caps if multiple words except for 'a' 'the' etc ..) an press the "Create" button:
    <createbox />
  • 3. Add the information while in edit mode
  • 4. Click "Save"
  • 5. Add your side event proposal to the list of events presented above

Practical Information for the Economics of the Commons Conference



Choices you have for booking your own accomodation.

Best Western Hotel Berlin-Mitte

  • 93 € for single
  • 103 € for double room incl. breakfast

These are special rates for us and if you want to book your accommodation in this hotel, kindly mention the code “1925972 Heinrich Böll” when booking.

Motel One Berlin-Hauptbahnhof

  • 76,50 € for single room incl. breakfast

These are special rates for us and if you want to book your accommodation in this hotel, kindly mention the code “534085748 Heinrich Böll” when booking.

Alternative accommodation:

If you look for alternatives to a hotel, please browse through the following web-pages:

Please look for the area around or in Berlin-Mitte. City codes: 10115, 10117, 10119, 10178, 10179 which is the nearest area to the Foundation.


There is direct bus connection from the airport Tegel to the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Best Western Hotel with bus TXL Airport Express, costing only 2.40 € for one way ticket (Zones A & B). Get down at the 7th stop “Karlplatz” and then walk 350 meters to the Heinrich Böll Foundation, or to the Best Western Hotel. You can also stop at the Station "Washingtonplatz/Hauptbahnhof" to go the Motel One Berlin-Hauptbahnhof Hotel.

How to get there:

For guests arriving by train at the Central Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof) you find Motel One/ Berlin Hauptbahnhof next to the Railway Station. You can also take the TXL bus from Washingtonplatz (Exit to the South). Get down at the next stop “Karlplatz” or even walk the entire way to the Heinrich Böll Foundation (1.8 km, see map).

The nearest major station is Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse where all Stadtexpress (SE) or Regionalexpress (RE) trains, S- or U-Bahn from all four directions stop as well as the RE and SE trains or S-Bahn from and to the (Zones A, B and C costing 3,10 €) Schoenefeld Airport.

Upon arrival at Bahnhof Friedrichstraße take the Exit (to the West), cross the River Spree on the roofed iron bridge, then walk on the Albrechtstrasse and then cross the Reinhardtstrasse and you will see the Heinrich Böll Foundation on the left and Best Western on the right.


Whom to contact in case you need advice?

  1. Kim Nommesch, Conference Assistant, mailto: [email protected]
  2. Tsewang Norbu, Conference Assistant, mailto: [email protected]
  3. Simone Zühr, Project Manager at International Politics Desk, mailto: [email protected]

phone: ++49 +30+28534-317, cellphone (during conference): +49 (0)151-4347 1254 (logistics/ admin/emergencies)