Privatizing Nature
Political Struggles for the Global Commons

Goldman, Michael (ed.)
Publisher:  Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick
Year Published:  1998  
Pages:  257pp   ISBN:  978-0813525549
Library of Congress Number:  GE149.P75 1998   Dewey:  333.9/517
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX15950

Contributors examine the reasons behind the political resurgence of the commons, and the widespread struggle to transform existing nature-society relations into ones that are non-exploitative, socially just and ecologically healthy.

Abstract:  The concept of "the commons" as a device for controlling land and natural resources first entered the political realm during the enclosure movement in pre-industrial Britain. In the late 20th century, new forms of enclosures and notions of private property are emerging - from water rights, biodiversity, and "gene pools" of plants and humans to the demands of multinational corporations for free access, to more land for investment and exploitation. The power of the commons is still flourishing and the "global commons" now provides the central metaphor for ecological politics. This volume examines the reasons behind the political resurgence of the commons, and the widespread struggle to transform existing nature-society relations into ones that are non-exploitative, socially just and ecologically healthy. It tackles the key themes such as the convergence of environment and social justice, global commodities, and the role of social movements. Central to the study are a series of case studies from the Amazon, Mexico, Cameroon, India and the Industrialized North. The authors assess the relevance of the global commons in a rapidly shrinking world and argue for a global "scientific commons" to match the changes we are experiencing as local environmental problems - such as the Chernobyl disaster - are perceived as fundamentally global ones.