Six Modules for the Institutions of the Global Commons

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"The trinity of the commons corresponds to the political wisdom of the division of powers, of checks and balances. It represents material democracy and structural prudence, which teaches us not put all your eggs in one basket. Do not trust yourself too much.

Most of the different types of commons and of activities can be distributed in six modules:


These modules are emergent entities, generated by possible reintegration of functions, minimization of transport, economies of scale, communicative and political considerations, general features of stable, resilient systems. It is obvious, that they must be interpreted according to local conditions. The suggested modules are not identical in every circumstance, but they share more what Wittgenstein called “family resemblance.”58 We must not think of them as containers or gated communities, but rather as clouds with a fuzzy silhouette, as defined spaces and meeting points at the same time.

There is an intrinsic connection between functions and the size of the territories they serve. The cooperative state of public services works best in medium-sized territories that can be integrated without excessive use of energy for transportation.

What we need is a global secession of medium-sized territories.

Big nations can be replaced by criss-cross federations and coalitions of territories that are defined by function, not by historical fictions. Territories can be members of sub-continental or global cooperatives for specific purposes. Such communal enterprises are already in existence, e.g. the CERN, a cooperative effort of nations, big and small. Unfortunately CERN isn’t subjected to real democratic monitoring and in this respect not a perfect model.

Sub-continental or global cooperation is needed to develop the new ecological products, modular components or materials that can be used or assembled in territories or even neighborhoods." (