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Interview of David Bollier and Benjamin Coriat on the commons

Frédéric Sultan, Sylvia FREDRIKSSON, juin 2015

Participants : David Bollier, Benjamin Coriat

Part 1 of the discussion between David Bollier and Benjamin Coriat in June 2015 at Paris.

Benjamin Coriat and David Bollier discuss of the visions of the commons, starting from the question asked to Benjamin Coriat : you are an economist. You are working for the recognition of the commons, writer of « Le retour des communs », published last May. We are in 2015, what about the state of the dispute around the commons launched by the article of Harding The Tragedy Of The Commons today ?

It appears that there is now a large consensus around the idea that Harding’s arguments are wrong for the local commons, but there is always debate for the global commons (climate, ocean, …) and a need for a strong work in this fields.

What is the contribution of the French litterature on the commons published during the two last years in France especially ? Starting from this question, B. Coriat presents the complementarity of the works done on three directions :

  • Ethos of the commons (Dardot and Laval)

  • Nature and role of legal mecanisms and conceptions of the commons for thinking the commons (Repenser les biens communs, Jacques De Saint-Victor and Béatrice Parence)

  • problems relative to specific types of commons

Follows a discussion by B. Coriat and D. Bollier of the issues of democracy at stake (especially the need of a new theory of the bureaucraty for the left) beyond the persective supported by Dardot and Laval (Commons as a new attitude, lifestyle and behavior).

What are the contributions of Internet to the democracy ? Internet is opening the possibility to play democratic processes at the large scale, both at the transnational and global levels.

A new vision of the categories, that are defining the field of the commons, is comming by articulating the Ostrom perspective with the original action of free software movement (hack of the intellectual right property) and now, the italian legal imagination. It invites us to understand the « pluriversity » of the commons.

B. Coriat and D. Bollier agree on two dynamics that must be reinforced for the futur of a commons movement. One is the interconnexion between activists and actions at a transnational level. The second is the revinvention of the State. In many cases, there are possibilities to experiment and involved state servants and representatives in opening commons based process of management of resources.