Tragedy of the Commons | Oskar Eustis | George Monbiot | Invest in our CommonWealth

I’m from Pennsylvania, one of four States of the 52, which is a Commonwealth. I never really knew how that distinguished PA from any other state. I learned of the concept of the Commons through the writings of George Monbiot. He wrote this article published in the Guardian September 27th, 2017. Don’t let the rich get even richer on the assets we all share – It’s time for communities to seize back control of resources upon which their prosperity depends

Monbiot states that the commons has three main elements. “First a resource, such as land, water, minerals, scientific research, hardware or software. Second a community of people who have shared and equal rights to this resource, and organise themselves to manage it. Third the rules, systems and negotiations they develop to sustain it and allocate the benefits.” He goes on to state:

The commons have been attacked by both state power and capitalism for centuries. Resources that no one invented or created, or that a large number of people created together, are stolen by those who sniff an opportunity for profit…those who capture essential resources force everyone else to pay for access.”

What comes to my mind immediately is companies that for example take (extract/steal)  a region’s water, and then force the local people to pay for what they bottle. Or the fact that various individuals and companies throughout history who tried to buy, destroy or steal the plans of various individuals who designed medical or energy devices that could have provided a product to the public for almost no cost. Instead, they were hidden from public knowledge so that the perpetrators could make a profit through their own devices. By obscuring the competitor’s inventions, they were able to bank on their own goods or services.

Monbiot subsequently published essentially the same themed article in his blog Common Wealth on the 2nd of October, 2018. Entitled Common Wealth – Hope lies with a great, neglected sector of the economy, through which we can create a system that is neither capitalist nor state communist.”

The commons is water, land, air, natural resources, scientific knowledge, natural parks.

Commons is managed for wellbeing.

Tragedy of the Commons, Nicholas Amendolare

Tragedy of the Commons video by Nicholas Amendolare

The Tragedy of the Commons is eloquently described in this video. Basically if a community consumes a common resource too fast for regeneration to occur, people must choose between restricting their own consumption for the good of the community, for if they continue to consume at a rate that satisfies their immediate “self-interest”, there may be dire consequences later. That seems to be what is occurring on the earth presently. However, in terms of consuming and/or spoiling resources, the fact is that it isn’t really the individuals who make up communities who are necessarily at fault. In the last several generations, the resources and supply has for the most part been in the control of a very few. This has upset the balance and tweaked the demand curve.

We’ve gotten into a weird state of affairs in the USA, which is being replicated all over the globe. It used to be the land of effulgent possibilities. Labeled the Land of Opportunity, the American Dream. The land of entrepreneurship. The place where people could be assured that their ideas and efforts could be strengthened and developed. But the dream has been taken hostage by just a small percentage of individuals and groups, who have been able to use their money to buy their passage, gobble up competitors, purchase the media and think tanks to hurl out propaganda and crush anyone in their way.

In the last decades, as a friend says the last 70 years, the emphasis in the States has become top-heavy towards enriching the industrial interests, which has coincided with buttressing the military. A handful of people have been controlling these interests. The process has downright gutted many of the small businesses. Anyone who has been alive long enough in the United States of Amnesia, has seen their local hardware stores, five & dime stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, local boutiques etc, in which you knew the families of the people who owned and operated them, disappear. Now Big Box Stores like Walmart have replaced them. They can’t compete. I mention this in my other blog. https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/the-photo-ark-half-earth-project-plastic-ocean-dolphin-deaths-sonar-seismic-tests-patriotism-to-finance-the-military-industrial-gdp-ecocide/

Robert Reich explains in this video THE MONOPOLIZATION OF AMERICA: The Biggest Economic Problem You’re Hearing Almost Nothing About about how this phenomenon evolved. He says that a century ago there were anti-trust laws preventing any company from getting too large, but that these protections disappeared during the Reagan years. Reich points out that the less businesses there are in competition, the more the few who are in control can create their own prices as well as the wages. No competitor, no problem, for those making the rules.

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Health Care Monopolies 2016

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Health Care Monopolies 2016

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Walmart Drives Down Workers Wages

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Walmart Drives Down Workers Wages

 USA, business, Walmart Nation, Health Care, Boeing

The USA according to what businesses ‘control’ each state. Walmart Nation, Health Care Boeing

 

What we need to do is to step by step, reinvest in our own communities, and take the tools to work side by side. Forming relationships with people and seeing our own work and voices mirrored, empowering people to be intimately tied to their own land. I’m living in a town next to the birthplace of the industrial revolution. A number of people told me how toxic the river was that flowed through this town. The townspeople and any other life that had been here certainly suffered, while the industries reaped financial rewards. The trend in the USA has been for cities to clean up their waterfronts and create common spaces that people can enjoy. That is their heritage, to walk and commune freely with others in public spaces. That’s what I’m talking about here. Except not just riverfront property. I’m talking about fields and woods surrounding towns, forests on the periphery, about national parks, about creating once again and maintaining spaces that are naturally the habitat of other life forms. About taking picks to break up parking lots and creating community gardens instead. About people engaging in these public spaces, with love of the land, connectedness among the people and the desire to protect and allow the land and all the other life forms to flourish.

What I understand in the idea of ‘taking back’ the commons – is for community members, you and I, to have joint ownership of the land; for community members to be entitled to make decisions on how best to use this resource and to together create community works, community theatre, community stores, community gardens, community farms. Because when something is shared and invested in physically and monetarily, one will put effort, love and pride into maintaining it. We have had this tremendous land grab by companies, private sectors, who own vast stretches of land which, one would think, should rightfully be a heritage of the people who walk on the earth. So if the people collectively owned these swaths of land, fields, forests, grasslands, natural parks and so forth, then we the people would be engaged in participating in protecting it. It would be something that belonged to the people, and therefore, instead of being neglected or some other owner reaping vast rewards while the local populations received little, the people could benefit from either choosing to create fields, community gardens, parks with fruit and nut trees. In other words, this would deliver the ownership to the people and the wealth of the land would be valued by the people and recirculated among the people, not trickled off to enrich an owner far away.

Oskar Eustis, Why theater is essential to democracy, TED Talk

Oskar Eustis TED Talk
Why theater is essential to democracy

I had the pleasure of listening to Oskar Eustis, the director of Hamilton, speak at a salon coordinated by the Athenaeum in Providence, Rhode Island. His words echoed the same concepts, of the need to bring back community theatre and arts and take back the country from all who have been dispossessed and cheated. The idea of power coming from below, from the community. He launched the audience with his humor and great storytelling into the past, to the first theatre and the fist actors of ancient Greek history. He mentioned Thespis, the first person ever to appear on stage and Aeschylus, the father of tragedy. He mentioned that it was the Persians who brought to the stage for the first time – not just one actor donning various masks – but two actors to stand side by side on the stage. This new perspective, with dialogue revealing that there could be more than one isolated truth, but a dialectic in which a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view could establish a truth through reasoned arguments, happened to coincide with the beginnings of Democracy at about this same time period.

Eustis stated that the Truth is dialectical. Precedent to Hegel’s dialectic, dialogue asks the audience to listen to two points of view, recognizing that each lead to the truth. Thus theatre, storytelling in its beginnings, came with this perception of each person having a voice. And this recognition through theatre, precipitated Democracy.

Oskar spoke at length about how bringing the theatre to the public, to allow actors and non actors to participate, empowers people. Project Discovery, which Trinity created is theatre of, for and by the people. He mentioned that creativity is inherent in all people, and that it is human to have the desire to create. Some people have had more practice. Creativity simply needs to be nourished.

Oskar Eustis spoke of the fate of the marketplace. That the economy and technology of the last decades has turned its back on the people. Wall Street and corporations operating in this global economy have robbed people of jobs. As the jobs disappeared – outsourced to other countries for cheaper labor – it has pulled communities apart. He talked of revitalizing communities through investing in projects such as theatre. When people can see their own story and speak their own story, they are empowered to share their stories.

Oskar states that “It is our job to knit this country back together, not to be right.

Oskar Eustis’ TED Talk weaves together the idea of a public theatre, common voice and a democratic government.

The Work That Reconnects, Pat van Boeckel

The Work That Reconnects Pat van Boeckel

 

 

One of the practices within The Work that Reconnects is an exercise called the Riddle of the Commons Game. It brings to awareness the fact that people need to balance between their own self-interest and collective self-interest. Each is necessary for the common good.

Greta Thunberg, speech Swedish Parliament, Swedish Schoolstrike

Greta’s powerful speech to Swedish people before the Parliament

 

 

 

 

‘We Have Not Come Here to Beg World Leaders to Care,’ 15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Tells COP24. “We Have Come to Let Them Know Change Is Coming. We can no longer save the world by playing by the rules,” says Greta Thunberg, “because the rules have to be changed.”

There’s nothing more important than recognizing that change can happen. Coming through education and arts and activities within your own communities. We can drive that change. If one young girl has already sparked and inspired students in Australia, in another continent, this can ripple. We need to look very, very hard, at what we are choosing, so that we don’t lose what is most precious. You may think your own immediate children are the most precious, but what if there are no trees, woods, grasses, available food, no clean oceans or rivers or lakes, or air, and no other life? It is an astoundingly clear choice to me. We’ve got to make some changes, and we’re going to do this together. And plenty of people are pointing the way, and your own ideas will be as valuable as anyones, collaboratively we will create this change.

My friend Loren Booda states, “Start with hope, funding of positive efforts to return nature and, with native education, make everyone responsible for and aware of their use of resources. The major problem? Almost all of us usually put other needs or wants before the environment.” Full-circle back to The Tragedy of the Commons.

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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blogger, Carol Keiter

December 10th, 2018 Carol Keiter

Dictates of What is Considered Newsworthy | Continued Earthquakes Christchurch, New Zealand |

Several days ago I learned of the ongoing earthquakes that have been crippling New Zealand.  I wasn’t informed by the major news networks, but through a phone conversation with a family member.  To further inform myself, I did a google search,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Christchurch_earthquake and wikipedia corroborated that the 7.1 magnitude Canterbury quake of September, 4th 2010, was followed by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in the region throughout that year, leading to a deadly quake on February 22nd, 2011 in Christchurch, followed by a multitude of aftershocks and swarm of earthquakes since.  These have continued in 2012.

Having recently returned to the United States from Berlin, Germany to visit my parents, I join them in their evening ritual of watching the NBC nightly news TV broadcast with Brian Williams.  With respect to the fact that the devastation has been so great and the horror perpetuates, my question is, why has this not been considered newsworthy?  Classified as strong, to destructive and violent – often measuring above 5.0 on the Richter scale – these quakes occurring within a 20 mile radius of Christchurch, the second largest city in New Zealand, have caused destruction so great, that the communities have not been able to rebuild.

Regardless of the fact that this is located on the other side of the world (from the USA), I would think that it is of more import than the Republican circus.  If dozens of recurring earth quakes of this magnitude were happening consistently in Los Angeles or San Francisco, coverage of this would inundate our television news broadcasts.

It took my sister, residing in England, who conversed with a woman from New Zealand while each waited in line for the new iPad to be released, for this information to circulate.  Geological fault-lines running within the area, similar to that of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East Africa rift, is the source of the activity.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/albertine-rift/draper-text  This National Geographic article describes not only the geological characteristics of the Albertine rift, but also the paramount social unrest in this fertile area, rich in natural resources and territorial competition; man against man, man against animals, man against nature.

Surely, the media conglomerates and U.S. government had been aware of the genocide in Ruanda when it was at its height, and the atrocities occurring in Uganda and the Congo (countries adjacent to the Albertine rift).  Is the assessment of the gravity of what is considered noteworthy or newsworthy; decided as to whether we are trading partners, what resources there are to tap into, the GDP of the country or how the economic entities within the involved region list on the stock exchange?

It is comical how politicized and economically driven what is considered ‘news’, according to the major U.S. networks.  It appears that it takes private individuals with video cameras, such as the ‘Kony’ epidemic, http://www.kony2012.com/ or feature films, to alert and inform the American public; individual’s rallying to bring events involving humanitarian and natural disasters to the public’s attention.  This same sister who had worked in the CBS New York news department for years, alluded to this fact.  What was designated, and often decided within the last minutes before air time, as newsworthy, often dangles on someone’s agenda.

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