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April 15, 2009

Who Owns the World?

A new anthology of essays about the commons is published in Germany.

International interest in the commons continues to grow, spurred in no small part by new books like this latest one from Germany. Who Owns the World? The Rediscovery of the Commons, has now been published by oekom Verlag in Berlin. (The German title is Wem gehört die Welt – Zur Wiederentdeckung der Gemeingüter.) The book is an anthology of essays by a wide range of international authors, including Elinor Ostrom, Richard Stallman, Sunita Narain, Ulrich Steinvorth, Peter Barnes, Oliver Moldenhauer, Pat Mooney and David Bollier.

Silke Helfrich, the editor of the book, who formerly headed up the Heinrich Boll Foundation’s office in Mexico, is a leading thinker and writer about the commons. She also blogs about the commons (in German) at www.commonsblog.de. In November 2006, Helfrich hosted a major international conference in Mexico City, “Citizenship and Commons,” which focused on the commons in Latin America and inspired the creation of this book.

Who Owns the World? has been well-received since its launch last month. For those who can read German, a website about the book – with ordering information — can be found here. A free download of the book – under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives license – can be found here.

Another international book on the commons has just come out. The Italian publisher Bruno Mondadori has released Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, by Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom. (The Italian title is La Conoscenza Come Bene Comune: Dalla Teoria alla Pratica.) More information can be found on the publisher’s website. English-readers can learn more about the book from MIT Press.