Part 1 – Institutions of life networks

Common goods, definition and management from yesterday to today.

” The success of the commons depends on their adaptation to their local environment”

Elinor Ostrom

They are the result of the practice of subsidiarity

We have just presented the operation of a Positive Money to finance all human activity. When Work precedes Capital, this fundamental value of the humanist culture of the Networks of Life expresses a relationship of temporality, a natural and logical chronology. Work when it is also “the ability to act in a concerted manner” becomes the exercise of power and this power, “it springs from among men when they act together.”

When Capital precedes labor, money, debts and the power of high finance control the liberal economic system and this financial power is exercised in the present but also and above all in the future. It is the chimerical desire to impose a world government led by the Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy and as we have mentioned, for a citizen, it is No Future, he can only submit to what has been planned for him: work more for the wealthier or be excluded if it is useless.

When Labor precedes Capital, we have left the system of liberal power. Work and power go together. We have shown this through the Total Quality approach, whose results, the COQs serve as the basis for work planning and therefore also for the necessary investments in Work as well as for remuneration.

The value Work naturally carries the past-present-future temporal dimension. For the present, investments and remuneration are financed by the Monnaie Pleine. For the future we have shown the interest in using social rights and this is also true for the past. And from social rights, we came to the notion of the commons and how they were managed.

Definition of Common Goods

The management of the Common Assets thus organizes the future activities and those from the past, forecasts and updates, which are carried out in the present. This approach to the Common Goods becomes simpler and clearer when they are defined with the concept of Work. It is a longer work, of superior quality to be used for a long time, a work that is sustainable in the very long term and intended to be passed on to future generations.

The activity is on the second level, the realization of works that raise the standard of living and are passed on to future generations. This activity is managed mainly by the common property, the social group at the local level and in direct participatory democracy during the communal assemblies.

The exercise of power to develop the Common Goods requires high skills to design and realize goods that will always be suitable after several centuries because their high level of Quality will make them works, masterpieces. These achievements, these constructions, these works do not follow the same rhythm, the same techniques, they do not use the same resources as the work essential to life and survival to feed, to house, to put oneself in safety. This knowledge is expertise that must be preserved and taught for use by all over the next generations.

Thus, common goods comprise tangible goods and services and intangible knowledge. The combination of these two elements through the Work-exercise of Power gives the management of the Common Goods its central place in the development of the Networks of Life.

The development of the common goods is then the pillar of growth and a prosperous civilization.

A history of the commons since the medieval period.

The medieval period is the last flourishing period in Europe.

Common goods included the use of natural resources (water, forest, prairie, minerals), inherited buildings and constructions, new arts to build larger and splendid buildings, cathedrals, open cities, baths and baths, hospitals, downtown houses, fortresses, forges, food reserves, the rural hydraulic system for mills, fish ponds, vineyards and wineries, roads, bridges, ports and commercial fleets, etc.

The monastic orders brought this knowledge and techniques of construction and management to the peoples who came to settle in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Then in the 12th century the orders of knights monks, mainly the Templars, defended these new riches and set up their bank with circulation of bills of exchange and led maritime expeditions with the help of the fleet of Vikings to restore the ancient route of Antiquity to the Andes of Tiahuanaco.

To stay here on the question of the Common Goods and their management in the medieval period in France, the Benedictines, Cistercians then Templars, Teutonics, Hospitallers, encountered two difficulties in their enterprises, both of a political nature.

  • The Frankish chiefs, once settled in Gaul, constantly quarreled to expand and defend their fiefdoms through looting and wars of succession. Most of them followed the teaching of the monks and bishops, but there was no question for them of abandoning their conquests, their political power to integrate themselves in the network organization of monastic orders and to participate in the management of common property in common ownership. The Benedictines kept their distance from the Frankish kings who were always quick to ask them for allegiance and submission to their interests. In 1789, Abbé Sieyès, at the Convention, even asked whether the country should still be called France as the Franco monarchy was responsible for so many wars and misery and whether it was better to go back to the name of Gaul, as under the Roman Empire when after 300, the emperor became the head of the Roman Christian church.
  • The Roman papacy was constantly seeking to regain the power of its power when the emperor was also the head of the Church. The development of wealth by the Benedictines on the soil of France enabled them to regularly elect one of their own to the seat of the papacy in Rome. But the church is not limited to monastic orders. His secular orders among the peoples and cities did not have the riches of the abbeys and convents, as did the king, for that matter. The development of wealth during the time of the cathedrals in the 13th century aggravated the situation and lust of the kings of France first and the Roman papacy second. After the destruction of the Templars in 1307, the Abbeys and their land properties were soon ruled by the children of the nobility before they belonged to them and paid them substantial rents.

In plain English and using our analysis of the situation, monastic orders developed in the system of power of the Frankish monarchy and that of the Roman papal theocracy without finally being able to convert either to its civilizing and humanistic culture and we know how this last flourishing period was broken and followed to the present day by 7 centuries of wars, crises, pandemics with two world wars in Europe in the 20th century.

The elimination of the Common Goods and their collectivization by monarchies

or privatization by the business bourgeoisie from the 14th century.

The wealth of the medieval period brought by this remarkable prosperity was viciously plundered by the rulers of the monarchical power systems and the rulers of the capitalist system at the dawn of its rise.

Let us begin by recalling the historical facts and then we will see how the recovery of this humanist culture has been done at the intellectual level in the theories and dogmas posed by the leaders and of capitalism and papal theocracy.

 The development of the Common Goods managed by the monks and then the Templars was based on Christian religious teachings which themselves came from the knowledge of the temples on the banks of the Nile and Greece, whose scholars learned in the temples on the banks of the Nile. This knowledge, in the medieval period, was common to Christians in Constantinople and to Muslim Arabs, especially from Spain and Morocco. In Europe, the Benedictine monks after the year 500 had tried to educate with this knowledge, the leaders of the peoples who came to invade Western Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

The elimination of common property in France after Friday, October 13, 1307.

This is a simple reminder of the pages of which describe the organization of the Benedictine, Cistercian and Templar orders.

Following the destruction of the Order of the Temple, France will experience a series of misfortunes, the plague, the Hundred Years War, the wars of succession between monarchs. We have indicated the attempt of Joan of Arc and his movement to restore the organization of the medieval period. Another far more clumsy and radical attempt was the peasant war and then the Catholic-Protestant religious wars. Finally, we showed the mistakes of the revolutionaries of 1789 who failed to remember and understand the medieval period and its flourishing development.

In the early 1300s, the King of France was ruined because his income only covered 10% of France’s soil. 90% of the land was managed by abbeys, monastic orders and knights in the form of common goods. The monks who managed this wealth had vowed to be poor, but their orders grew because of the wealth produced. Philippe le Bel could not present any economic or political arguments to justify his desire for royal absolutism. If he did not destroy the Knights Templar, it was the kingship that disappeared in favor of an unmediated organization between the Christian citizens and God, as was the case, for example, for the Gamala Republic in Galilee with its Nazarenes.

The Common Goods, for Philip the Fair and the Frankish chiefs settled in Gaul, were thus a religious rule enacted by the Pope of Rome. We know how he appointed the bishop of Bordeaux who was under his control and with this pope, how he had the Knights Templar condemned for heresy by the Inquisition.

This was facilitated by the secular dissensions in the Church of Rome between monastic orders and secular orders closer to the people. The management of the common property passed to the secular orders and the sons and daughters of the Frankish nobility were appointed to head the abbeys, monasteries and convents. Over time, the rents of these land estates became the property of the nobility. During the Revolution of 1789, these goods were sold as national goods to the new business bourgeoisie. In 1790, the Hatter’s Law reinforced individual property by prohibiting intermediate bodies inherited from the medieval period and the Middle Ages in general, which the Ancien Régime had not abolished. Since then, common property has been forbidden (forgotten) in the Republican Constitutions.

Except that for decades now, many people have named this or that: water, air, natural resources and now also the use of knowledge and technologies that work and develop the knowledge that humanity needs to organize itself.

To sum up, the elimination of common property in France was mainly the result of the elimination of its managers by the religious tribunal of the Inquisition. Then, gradually, the common property passed from medieval common property to collective property of the monarchy and its rulers and to bourgeois private property after 1789.

The Elimination of Common Goods in England

Elinor ÖSTROM had studied the disappearance of the commons, the end of the enclosures in England during two fierce and dramatic civil wars until the seventeenth century.

Here we are in contact with the history of England, Scotland and Ireland, and more particularly with that of the Anglo-Saxons and, for at least two centuries, with that of the Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy which forbids the use of a Full Currency and social rights but financed the development of the communist political regime to make it its political opposition and to draw from this ideological conflict with communism the occasion of the many wars of the twentieth century, wars which are the occasion of so many enormous profits impossible to obtain without them.

A more complete presentation of the two Commons wars in Great Britain can be found in our external strategic diagnosis with the threat of the leaders of the Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy and the Puritan sect who proclaim themselves predestined to govern the whole world.

The notion of the Common Good.

and the political, economic and theocratic movements that use it

 The Capitalization of Social Rights by Pierre LEROUX during the years 1840-1871

The capitalization of Social Rights is a term used by Pierre Leroux in the years 1840-1875 to claim for workers the right to become partners of their companies after a certain length of service in their companies.

It was a way of eliminating the disastrous social consequences of private ownership of the means of production arising from the Chapelier Act and the Allarde Decree of 1790, a major error of the revolution of 1789. We have shown how the movement of Pierre Leroux, founder of French socialism of Christian inspiration, was discarded by German scientific socialism which subsequently allowed the establishment of the communist system of power with all its tyranny excesses and police crimes.

At the same time, the industrial development of large commercial companies requires significant investment and therefore financing from savings. The parties of the Parliamentary Right around Adolphe Thiers voted in 1864 the law on the companies and savings of the bourgeoisie, banks, was to make a fruitful contribution through industrial development.

Against this development, to which the workers were rejected, Pierre Leroux’s Christian socialism was rejected by the radical socialist movements from which the communist ideology and the Soviet Union emerged.

We use the term “social rights” with a different meaning: these are individual property rights with which citizens access social goods according to their needs or desires. As we have shown before, they replace the savings function of money, which is so problematic when legal money is used in a power system to control a national or global economy.

These social rights enable citizens to have access to the use and management of the common property, i.e. the right to use the common property to manage the common property. They acquire them from their work and their remuneration and they replace the social contributions used in the liberal capitalist system.

The current political movements that advocate social measures close to Social Rights.

This approach is not new and is currently reflected at the political level in demands for universal basic income, with allocations of financial resources evolving according to life stages.

These demands have become urgent in the face of rising new poverty due to neo-liberal policies that destroy social ties.

Since savers and shareholders took power in the 1990s, government policies have evolved towards supply-side policies to help companies that are admittedly hard hit by the ravages of globalization and “competitive” relocations.

Policies to support demand are being hampered by the pressure of needs to finance life extension, pensions, dependency and end of life. As nothing moves in this direction with austerity policies to preserve the maximization of the profits of investors and shareholders, the impoverishment of the middle and so-called “popular” classes is accelerating.

This is what is at stake, the expectation of gains and a rise in the standard of living for citizens through the development of the Common Goods.

 But for political parties that demand the development of the common goods, their proposals remain within the framework of the liberal capitalist system of power. They seek to correct and improve the functioning of this liberal system for a more just and virtuous capitalism. The leaders of the liberal system are not left behind, but they advance the notion of the Common Good, an ideal to follow and which would guide us towards this Common Good, a new name for the general interest advanced already by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The Relationship between the Common Good and the Management of the Common Good.

The future, which has become more just, equitable and fraternal, would be this common good, while the management of the common property with the common property exercised by the citizens remains strictly prohibited. This is the current situation, the stage at which the conflict between the two cultures, which have been fighting since the beginning of the industrial era, is leading us. We will decide between the ‘No Future’ and the invocations to the ‘Common Good’ or to the ‘economy of the Common Good’.

It is a matter of deepening the definition of the Common Good in the humanist culture of the Networks of Life on the one hand and on the other hand, in the doctrine of liberal capitalist ideology.

The definition of the Common Good used in the medieval period

serves as the starting point for our analysis.

In the internal diagnosis of a new use of a full currency, in terms of commercial and management resources, we have taken up the words of Erik REINERT dans son livre « Comment les pays riches sont devenus riches Pourquoi les pays pauvres restent pauvres ». 


“Aristotle’s vision of the world as a zero-sum game slowly gave way to the growing understanding that new wealth could be created – not just conquered – through innovation and creativity. (page 208).

“Around the thirteenth century, the Florentines, the Pisans, the Amalfitans, the Venetians and the Genoese began to adopt a different policy in order to increase their wealth and power, having noticed that science, the cultivation of the earth, the application of arts and industry, as well as the introduction of extensive trade, could enable them to generate a large population, meet their countless needs, maintain a high level of luxury and acquire immense wealth, without having to conquer new territories.” Sebastiano Franci, Reformer of the Milanese Lights, 176 4.  (page 205)

Very early on, it became clear to people that most of the wealth was in cities, particularly in some cities. Cities were home to free citizens; in the countryside, people were usually serfs who belonged to the land and the local lord. Based on these observations, research was conducted to understand what factors made cities so much richer than the countryside. Gradually, the wealth of cities was perceived as the result of synergies: people coming from many different businesses and professions and forming a community. The Florentine scholar and statesmen, Brunetto Latini (1220-1294) described this synergy as “it is very common”, that is to say opening “the common good”. Most early economists, mercantilists, and their German counterparts – the cameras – used these synergies as a fundamental element in understanding wealth and poverty. It is the common good that makes cities great, repeats Nicolas Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), almost 300 years after Brunetto Latini. (page 207)

Through this social understanding of wealth, which can only be understood as a collective phenomenon, the renaissance rediscovered and emphasized the importance and creativity of the individual. If we do not take into account these two perspectives – the common good and the role of the individual – we cannot understand either the vision of society in the Renaissance or the phenomenon of economic growth. (page 207).

End of excerpts from Reinert’s book.

The Common Good is defined as the result of synergies.

It is a gathering of equal men committed to action. It corresponds to “the ability to act in a concerted manner” and “it springs up among men when they act together” according to Hannah Arendt’s definition of power.

Without taking a not-so-innocent tautology further, the exercise of power by the citizens can only lead to the Common Good.

Except that in the medieval period and the famous 13th century, the time of the cathedrals organized by the Benedictines, Cistercians and the Knights Templar, Teutonic, Hospitaller Orders, in the city-states of northern Italy, observers had noticed that social relations and the development of skills in the cities made more wealth than in the countryside or in other regions dominated by centralized political regimes, by monarchies that remained on a development of wealth in the context of the plunder of those of their neighbors.

We have presented the virtuous circle of growth and the development of synergies previously, in the first dossier The choice of civilization, Chapter 3: the economic consequences of two opposing views of the human being.

In the medieval period, when we talk about the common good, we present this virtuous circle of growth and these synergies. It is about management, communication and management skills to forge social links that share solidarity, that is to say, sharing optimal solutions adapted to local particularities obtained by the practice of subsidiarity.

Of course, in this concept of the Common Good, all the results of the use of this knowledge are present: real and movable property, buildings, new and free cities, abbeys, communes attached to a city or an abbey. In short, what we call the commons. This relationship, which is inferred from the concept to the concrete realization, is indivisible.

Yet today there is a great difference, a gap, between the notion of the Common Good used by the Roman Catholic Church and the neo-liberal doctrine on the one hand and on the other hand the Common Good used by the activists of a participatory local direct democracy or Networks of Life.

The economics of the common good in the doctrine of the liberal capitalist system.

Our point starts from the book: Economy of the Common Good, by Jean Tyrole, Presse Universitaires de France, 2016.

We use an article:

The public interest, a matter of incentives

About: Jean Tirole, Economy of the Common Good, Paris, PUF

by Philippe Steiner , 27 October 2016


Document: extracts.

“By building markets, distributing information, and creating the right incentives, modern economic theory aims to lead us toward the common good.


The pursuit of the common good depends largely on the construction of incentives to reconcile as far as possible the individual interest and the general interest. (p. 15)

The core of Jean Tirole’s method lies in the economy of information and incentives modeled by game theory. The central idea is that actors act according to their preferences, but also according to the information available to them, so as to adjust their actions as best as possible to existing possibilities. Despite its central importance in the book, the notion of information is left in the vagueness: everything happens as if, simple and binary, it did not ask to be interpreted, as the sociologists or the French economists (the “economists of conventions”) that Jean Tirole does not want to hear about. The author’s position appears somewhat naive when he suggests that the economist is there to “dispassionate the debate by establishing the facts” (p. 82) as if the facts could be seized without complex interpretive work, including from economists.

…/…Jean Tirole defends the idea that the task of the economist is to build the incentive systems to lead actors towards the common good. The economist becomes a trading system builder: “the economist does not model the economic actor, but the economic actor does what the theorist models.” After Eric Maskin, Leonid Hurwicz, Roger Myerson, the theorists of the nudges, and many others, Jean Tirole enters a path that is at the heart of contemporary neo-liberalism.

Jean Tirole’s solution is to set up independent administrative agencies, such as the European Central Bank (ECB) or the National Data Processing and Freedom Commission (CNIL), capable of developing a policy geared to the general interest precisely because they are freed from the electoral constraints to which public authorities are subject, and because they have the information and skills to decide technical choices in a complex economic world. Politics is then likely to become rational because “it depends on the quality of arguments rather than on power relations” (p. 221).

The author’s solution is thus very technocratic: “Societal” choices (such as the issue of religious signs, PACS, etc.) can be left to politicians and voters, but it is not reasonable to do the same for “technical” choices (such as employment, currency issues) as neither has the appropriate skills and incentives to address them (p. 223). The desirability of such a conception of democracy is doubtful; it is also doubtful that experts are sensitive only to the weight of arguments and insensitive to power relations. And this is all the more so since Jean Tirole very conveniently attributes the 2008 financial crisis to the choices of politicians, relieving economists of all responsibility.”

end of document.

Other document:

Gérard BÉLANGER Department of Economics Université Laval Québec.



“The role of the economist is to help overcome market failures. (Jean Tirole, Economy of the Common Good: 383)

For, perhaps more than other humanities and social sciences, economics is intended to be normative: she aspires to “change the world.” (ibid. :: 123)

end of document.

The liberal version of the common good is an ideal.

a fiction, a reality that will never be reached, to which our efforts must lead, and the economist Jean Tirole proposes to show us the way. This is the neo-liberal doctrine in all its splendor and ignominy.

Only the experts gathered in the techno structure can advise and direct policy makers and citizens. This techno structure brings together independent institutions of the states such as the private central banks, the ECB in the euro area monetary union, the European Commission responsible for using the doctrine of the liberal capitalist system since there is no other alternative for these high officials and lobbyists, etc. .

We repeat that the leaders of the liberal system reject the complementarity between the three forms of property which, to our knowledge, is never taught in the school and university system (nor by the National Academies). Their fierce desire to eliminate common ownership and to privatize what concerns the collective ownership of nation-states only supports the expression “common good” as an ideal that will never be achieved.

In Part 2 of this essay, when describing the functioning of power systems, we will show the close and inseparable relationship between the roots of theocracies and those of economic, military and other tyrannies and despotisms.

The root of the predestination of certain elected officials by divine right to rule the peoples, is at the heart of the current Christian doctrine of the Common Good and also at the heart of the liberal capitalist doctrine with its claim to establish a world government of the richest and of the Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy. The Anglo-Saxon Puritan sect serves as a link, a bridge, between theocratic dogma and neo-liberal capitalist doctrine.

This doctrine accompanies, for example, Rousseau’s ideas: human beings are naturally good and it is society that corrupts them and prevents them from achieving the general interest. Philosophy, politics and scientists must therefore help the citizen and his personal interest to reconcile, to adjust to the general interest which must remain general and above all not become a common property! The solution, then, is to have a liberal doctrine and a technocratic structure to guide citizens towards this general interest.

Jean Tirole illustrates the perfect example of the brilliant student dazzled by this doctrine and who has since been a teacher and activist in this quest for the Common Good at the service of contemporary plutocracy.

Let us remain at the level of Nobel economics prizes, and in particular of the first woman to win one.

Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009 for his developments on the theory of commons.

Elinor Ostrom

His work focuses on the new common goods of computer-related knowledge development, open source software and shared knowledge.

Elinor Ostrom will often later reply to those who ask him for “recipes” that “each common is a special case”, which must be analyzed both in itself (what type of resource is offered as a share) and in relation to the community that has the charge.

She emphasized that the success of public goods depends on their adaptation to their local environment. The management rule is indeed common property, but this rule is useful and efficient only through its successful adaptation to local particularities. Here, of course, we find the basic principles of organizations in life networks: subsidiarity principle and alliance of opposites.

The common good is a social practice that benefits the development of societies.

It showed that the commons inherited from the past could usefully have a different destiny than privatization for productivity reasons or nationalization to avoid quarrels between owners. For her, the common goods are not just a bygone period of history but a social practice beneficial for the development of societies. The elimination by the capitalist system of this management of the common goods must therefore cease.



Elinor Ostrom or the reinvention of the commons, Friday, June 15, 2012, by Hervé Le Crosnier.

“Elinor Ostrom died on Tuesday 12 June 2012, at the age of 78. A tireless political researcher and educator who was keen to pass on her observations and analyzes to younger generations, she had, despite her illness, continued her cycle of lectures and meetings with young researchers in the field of commons in Mexico and India. Until recently, it expressed its sense of urgency about the Rio+20 conference currently taking place [2]. A conference during which the term “commons” becomes a rallying point, until it is included in the title of the “People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice in Defense of the Common Goods”.

The theory of the common goods, or more precisely of the “commons”, according to the English term commons, which is more general and less focused than the French translation currently used, has known several periods: historical studies, the analysis of the functioning of natural commons and the construction of digital commons. Elinor Ostrom and the institutional approach to political economy of the commons is essential in this journey to understand the renewal of the study of the commons and the emergence of social movements that claim to defend or build the commons.

The history of England and the movement of the enclosures, which very violently opposed the rural poor to the landowners between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, was the first incarnation of analyzes and movements on the commons. The owners saw the privatization and fencing of the areas as a guarantee of better productivity, especially for the breeding of sheep for spinning. The poor, who in the customs and the first legislative texts [3] had basic rights over the commons, saw it as an expropriation of their means of subsistence: the harvesting of honey, firewood, and the products of gathering. An expropriation which led them to return to the cities and accept the most thankless works, including the engagement on the ships of the English Navy. The political movement of the Levelers brought the egalitarian demands of the common rebels to the English Civil War of 1647. The repression and terror that then reigned in the countryside led historian Peter Linebaugh to say that “the movement of the enclosures in England is one of those concrete universals, like the triangular slave market, the witches burned at the stake, the Irish famine or the massacre of the Indian nations, which make it possible to define the crime of modernism, each time limited in time and space, but always exceeding the particular and likely to return to the scene [4]. Even today, thinking about the commons can only be done in relation to the attempts, forms and successes or failures of the new enclosures, which organize the privatization of what was previously used by all.[5]

However, apart from the historians and attentive readers of Marx or Polanyi, all economists seemed to have forgotten the notion of commons when in 1968 Garrett Hardin’s article, “The tragedy of the commons” [6], appeared in which he believed that each being guided by his greed would try to benefit the commons at best, without taking charge of their renewal. He concluded that the optimal management of the commons was either through privatization of the property concerned or through nationalization, and that it was better to create inequalities than to lead to the ruin of all. This article will remain for a long time a reference, to the point that until the last few years and the recognition of Elinor Ostrom’s work, it was impossible in a public place to talk about the commons without someone asking the question of their “tragedy”. But paradoxically, as Christian Laval [7] points out, this article will also put the issue of the commons back on the agenda. He also encouraged Elinor Ostrom and her husband Vincent to study the commons. Rather than engaging in mathematical games like Hardin, they will look at what is actually happening in the existing commons. And to show that forms of governance other than deprivation or statehood are possible, and that they are concretely implemented by communities to protect and maintain the shared resources entrusted to them. This work will be published later in his best-known book, Governing the Commons [8]. In the meantime, the research conducted in the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis she and her husband created in 1973 at Indiana University had developed globally, resulting in the formation of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP) in the mid-1980s [9]. Researchers from all over the world will then study the ways in which commons are managed in many places, following and reflecting Elinor Ostrom’s early work on the direct management of irrigation systems by stakeholders in Southern California, or the ways in which co-owners can properly and collectively manage buildings. They will thus discover that the management of shared resources requires the establishment of institutional arrangements, often informal, but nevertheless endowed with a force of realization through the involvement of the actors directly concerned. Far from the Hardin model, in which herders could graze their animals in the same field without ever talking to each other, to the point of exhausting the very source of food, researchers discover the great variety and inventiveness of real communities to manage common resources. Elinor Ostrom will often later reply to those who ask him for “recipes” that “each common is a special case”, which must be analyzed both in itself (what type of resource is offered as a share) and in relation to the community that has the charge. This she did with pedagogy during her last stay in France in June 2011.

Elinor Ostrom has set up a framework of analysis and institutional development for the observation of the commons. From its concrete observations, it drew eight principles of organization that are found in situations that genuinely ensure the protection of the commons for which these communities of actors are responsible:

  • groups at defined boundaries;
  • rules governing the use of collective goods that meet local needs and specificities
  • the ability of the individuals concerned to modify them
  • compliance by external authorities with these rules
  • the monitoring of compliance by the community with a system of graduated sanctions
  • access to inexpensive conflict resolution mechanisms
  • conflict resolution
  • governance activities organized in different and interlinked layers.

The commons are also systems of rules for collective actions

It is clear from Elinor Ostrom’s approach that, unlike many economists, it does not consider goods for themselves, but in their relationship with the social groups that participate in their production or maintenance. The commons are therefore not particular “goods”, but also systems of rules for collective actions. What is then open to sharing is not only a resource, but a particular social arrangement; consequently, the preservation of the resource requires an awareness of the social interactions that enable this sharing.

The meeting between the economic and political approach of the theory of commons carried by Elinor Ostrom’s Bloomington School and the ecological awareness during the 1970s and 1980s will reinforce these analyzes.

The issue of commons will expand from primarily local to global resources. Oceans, climate, biological diversity, Antarctica, forests are threatened with degradation and appropriation… our environment and the very limits of the earth [10] make them the equivalent of new ecological enclosures.

How does the commons theory allow us to deal with these global challenges? What communities are concerned with their protection, and the rules and arrangements that allow them to exist and act?

The questions asked around the Rio+20 conference are very much about these subjects, and there are indications of tendencies to find “global solutions”, often mythical or on the contrary serving as a screen for new enclosures. Beyond the catch-all nature of the term, one aspect of the ‘green economy’, that which wants to financialize nature and extend intellectual property rights to the whole of life, is thus a new enclosure hidden behind a generous discourse.

By moving away from the description of the degradation of these global goods, which often paves the way for catastrophism, Elinor Ostrom seeks instead to develop the forms of resilience that reside in the capacities of action:

“What we too often set aside is what citizens can do and the importance of real investment by the people concerned,” she said on receiving her Nobel Prize in Economics.

In her final post about the Rio negotiations in 2012, she clearly states: “Decades of research show that a range of evolving, complementary measures at the urban, regional, national and international levels is more likely to succeed than a universal and binding agreement, as it would provide a remedy if some of these measures fail.”

Digital commons

The third incarnation of the movement and the theory of commons will come from technological innovations, notably the Internet and digital documents. A university network, built outside the private computer systems that were necessary in the 1980s, whose protocols and standards are openly debated by all the engineers involved, the Internet quickly appears as a “new common”.

The players who built this network, and who are also the first users of it, will long defend its openness, its expansion for all and its neutrality [11], in the sense of a network that does not judge content or protocols, but transmits all computer messages at best.

Together with the emergence of the free software movement, we have a “global community” of computer scientists who collectively build shareable and open resources. It also sets internal rules (the GPL license for free software, the operation of the Internet Engineering Task Force, etc.) and the means to enforce them (open standardization, forums for exchange and continuous training between computer specialists, monitoring of attempts to circumvent the opening of the network…). As with natural commons, digital commons, even if they appear infinitely reproducible at a marginal cost tending towards zero, face pollution and degradation risks and enclosure strategies. The main one is the rapid and all-round extension of ‘intellectual property’, which in 2004 the lawyer James Boyle described as the ‘second movement of enclosures [12]’.

Elinor Ostrom could not remain indifferent to this conception of digital networks as common goods. Especially since, under the impulse of various digital social movements [13], the concept has been widely extended, notably by creators who use Creative Commons licenses, by researchers who disseminate their work in open access, by librarians who participate in the movement for access to knowledge… Elinor Ostrom will thus coordinate with Charlotte Hess the founding book of this new approach to commons [14]. This is a collective work analyzing the new social constructions that take place around the digital in the light of history and the experience of material commons. Knowledge is often regarded by economists as a public good in Paul Samuelson’s sense, that is, non-exclusive (it is difficult to prevent knowledge from circulating) and non-rival (what I know does not deprive anyone of the same knowledge). However, digital technology creates new conditions of private appropriability, which means that knowledge recorded in digital documents may instead be prevented from circulating: DRM [15] on files, software patents, lack of real conservation by dedicated organizations, censorship at network level… It is therefore by placing knowledge in the hands and under the responsibility of the people who produce it, who can by their practice make the knowledge resources shareable, that its circulation will remain assured. This is essential when dealing with the fields of science and health, and when considering their movement towards countries and researchers, innovators and health professionals who cannot benefit from the support of public bodies and large libraries.

Because this is one of the major contradictions of digital: it is an instrument of power never before envisaged, with reproduction costs tending towards zero and the network extending throughout the planet; and it’s at the same time the way to organize new enclosures, block sharing, monitor usage. As Elinor Ostrom has observed and promoted in his institutional approach, knowledge will remain free through a multiplicity of actions and levels of support. Laws, government-driven principles — including the obligation to disseminate primary research freely — coexist with the dynamics of groups and movements that loosen the stranglehold of privatization and barriers to access to knowledge for all in all fields.

Continue to build a commons theory

The commons movement needs theory, as do all movements that shake society. However, there is no need to make it a panacea today, a new “universal” solution whose failure or difficulties would signal the absence of hope. On the contrary, Elinor Ostrom’s main lesson is to cultivate differences and synergies. Whereas in the 1970s economists swore by abstract models, summoning humans as homo economicus in their own optimization calculations, Elinor Ostrom traveled the world, to Latin America, Asia or Africa. As David Bollier points out, “she traveled to observe the realities of cooperation on the ground, in all its sovereign human dimensions, and thereby lay the foundation for her creative theory of how commons succeed or fail. This is certainly what makes Elinor Ostrom’s work long: it is based on extensive empirical work [16]“.

The belated institutional recognition that Elinor Ostrom has experienced, including the award of the Nobel Prize in economics, goes hand in hand with attempts to recover his work in speeches that privilege ‘communities’ over peoples, or that use ‘friendship’ as an exchange value, or that boast of ‘innovative financial solutions’ and try to integrate the commons into a libertarian economic vision in favor of the major vectors of the Internet or ‘green’ finance. It is the lot of any research to be received differently by listeners or readers with different goals and interests. For those involved in the revival of the commons movement, who practically and theoretically emphasize sharing, solidarity, cooperative design in the face of private profits or military power relations, reading Elinor Ostrom brings a whole other light. Basically, his message is that people confronted day after day with the need to ensure the permanence of the commons that support their lives have far more imagination and creativity than economists and theorists would like to hear.

True to Elinor Ostrom’s smiling, pedagogical and welcoming image, his institutional theory of commons is above all a formidable lesson in optimism, confidence in human capacities, valorization of resourcefulness and admiration for the improbable arrangements that humanity knows how to implement. Our greatest tribute will be to continue to defend the commons, natural and digital, global or local, to make each and every one feel a responsibility on the protection of what humanity wants to offer in sharing, by choice or by necessity. The first, of course, is the defense of our common planet.”

Rio, June 14, 2012. Used under a Creative Commons BY license.


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This document, through the 8 principles of organization and management of the activity to achieve the development of a common good, describes in reality a Total Quality approach with its Quality Circles or problem-solving groups within the framework of bottom-up and bottom-up subsidiarity. Elinor Ostrom has observed a lot, but in her intellectual work she clearly did not participate or lead a Total Quality movement in business or see this approach in Japan after the 1960s and after. On the other hand, it understood how capitalism developed on the privatization of commons and enclosures.

It is a matter of deepening a little more this subject which served as studies to Elinor Ostrom by bringing knowledge updated in recent years, in England but also in France since chronologically this elimination of the Common Goods began in France on Friday, October 13, 1307.

The Restoration of Common Goods in the Networks of Life

After this story of the elimination of the Common Goods in France and England, the resolute opposition between the use of the Common Good in the medieval period and this neo-liberal theory of the economy of the Common Good which is taken up by the media in the pay of the world government of the wealthiest, as well as the desire to restore the management of the Common Goods, represent the elimination of the 7 last centuries during which the leaders of the systems of power plundered the work of the peoples to arrive at the current inequalities of heritage and the domination of the world government of the Anglo-Saxon ploutocracy.

The plunder of the commons after 1307 was the origin of the first capitalists.

The fortunes of Florence’s wealthiest families began as early as 1340 in Italy and have remained so until today. We now know how that wealth was created and how it became the private property of those wealthiest families today. This is the origin of wealth inequalities and this is also the solution to eliminate them: put in place the management of our common assets. A professor and researcher in social sciences can exhume this information from the archives, as long as he does not want, will not dare to explain the historical origin of this capitalization of wealth by these few families, he will not develop a knowledge used to become of our humanity.

Collective ownership of knowledge is the starting point for the restoration of the Common Goods.

Today, the restoration of the commons can easily begin from the collective ownership of knowledge developed through information technology. This technological revolution presents an opportunity that must be seized.

In the external diagnosis for the use of a Full Currency, in the technological environment, we have seen that blockchain and in particular Bitcoin technology is valued as a common good because this joint work has become a credible alternative to the banking and financial system that uses debt money to subject people to the interests of the Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy.

But it is not enough to name a common practice of working together, but this group working together must be aware that it exercises power through its mission of Authority and its way of ensuring Command. It is by exercising this power directly that it guarantees its use of common property to manage common property. As we have shown at the beginning of this chapter in defining the concepts surrounding the Common Good, the exercise of power is based on the creation of financial resources, the Mint Pleine and Social Rights.

The characteristics of a Common Good in the Networks of Life.

Life Networks are organized under the political regime of participatory local direct democracy. The status of common property is granted by a political institution at the local level, in principle a free city that gathers local teams of life projects, its national guard…

Objectives, missions:

  • raising living standards and developing prosperity.
  • be passed on to future generations.


The second level of activity is the production of works.

The challenge, the payoff:

Preparing the future, the future of every human being using the past, that is to say, heritage and knowledge, humanist culture, methods of living together, working together, the exercise of power, these elements which constitute a common good capable of achieving sustainable works.

A life course is defined by the common goods that a citizen wishes to use to train, care for himself, house himself, work, dispose of his leisure activities, meet other people, travel, in short, find his reasons for living.


The use of resources takes much longer than the work that is essential for life and survival.

The amount of available resources allocated to the management of the Common Goods is determined by political action within the framework of the political institutions of the Networks of Life. It depends on the resource needs of the first level of human activity, work to live and survive.

A citizen without a job has the right of immediate access to a job for the realization of works and common goods, he is then apprenticed with companions and experts.


The realization of a work requires the use of high skills, confirmed expertise to direct the work.

It is also an opportunity for young apprentices to learn knowledge, knowledge and techniques that will enable them to work on one or the other of the first two levels of activity. This mission devolves to the teams of life projects that carry out works participate in raising the level of skills, a major objective in the development of Life Networks.

The other characteristics are the same as for life project teams.

The use of Social Rights in the management of Common Good.

Sooner or later the members of the Life Networks will need to use goods and services to live dignified lives and overcome the vagaries of our human condition on planet Earth. This right is guaranteed to them through their capitalization of social rights.

Acquisition of Social Rights:

They relate to the activity of the individual from birth to death. This activity can be current or future.

At the level of current activity and remuneration for work performed at one or other of the activity levels, this is a kind of social contribution created during the work of a member and used for deferred consumption of goods or services.

At the level of future activity, from birth, the remission of a certain number of Social Rights corresponds to a universal basic income. These amounts shall be assessed by age group to enable the acquisition, where appropriate, of goods and services essential for life and survival during that period.

Capitalization of Social Rights:

Social rights are acquired for future consumption and in this they are a form of savings. The accumulation of social rights in a personal account is managed by the management center of the political institution of the place where he is domiciled, in principle the free city where he lives. The Mutual Society of this free city ensures this management under the direction and control of the management center of this free city.

This capitalization is used to forecast, plan the development of the common goods. As for commercial shares which are placed in the capital of companies, Social Rights, if they remain in the Mutual of the Free City, allow to prepare the coming years and the planning of the use of the Common Goods so as to optimize the management thereof.

The Social Security Mutual manages this capitalization no longer as a social risk insurance system: health, accidents, old age, dependence but as a system of universal solidarity. There is no longer any question of ensuring the financing of these risks, as in the Social Security in France, which was introduced in 1945 and which never managed to achieve a system of solidarity as its founders wanted, the fault of the employers in radical opposition since 1945 to this communist folk idea which can only increase the cost of labor and harm competition of enterprises or public finances as regards civil servants.

The development of the Common Goods has its own source of financing and does not depend on the transfer of wealth from the private property of commercial enterprises or public services.

For example, the demographic shock is predictable and therefore the Life Networks set up project teams to obtain the optimal solution through the use of subsidiarity and the alliance of opposites. The Total Quality approach applied in the work of these Life project teams makes it possible to evaluate the Costs of Obtaining Quality (COQ). These QOCs are part of the Plan that serves as the basis for the work of Full Currency Management, i.e. the investments and work to be carried out and paid for in the short and medium term, over the next five years. Long-term investments and work beyond five years are also part of the Plan, but they are not valued in full currency but in social rights.

The capitalization of Social Rights in Social Security Mutual Funds is paid into the Plan as long-term financial resources.

In other words, citizens have the guarantee that when the time comes they will be able to use a common good for their housing, health, training, leisure, dependency, etc. The Life Networks have planned to meet these needs and funding is planned. This guarantee is based on their wishes inscribed in their life project and taken into account at the level of the management center of their free city and on the financing needs of this life project inscribed in the Plan which serves to manage the Full Currency and Social Rights.

A free city no longer deals with more or less rigged electoral lists and elections, bank loans and repayments, the return on local taxes and taxes, state and regional subsidies, and the European Commission. A free city looks after its citizens and their life plans that meet their reasons for living on planet Earth in their human condition.

It is no longer the case, as in the liberal capitalist system, that governments in the hands of high finance privilege the interests of shareholders and rentiers to reduce and destroy public services on the pretext that these activities must be privatized. No more reforms of unemployment, pensions, health care to ever more diminish state funding and aid and thus impoverish No more social divide with two or more levels of citizens and a world government that gives everything to the rich and almost nothing to others.

Solidarity in the Networks of Life is radically the opposite of these criminal and greedy policies against humanity.

The circulation of social rights:

The creation of a Common Good such as a school, a building is financed with the full Mint. In fact, everything could be financed with a full mint, but then we might as well live from day to day. Except without preparation for the future, like the cicada and the ant, it can go wrong when winter has come. The future could also be prepared only in Full Currency, as is the case in the liberal capitalist system, even if this currency is managed off the balance sheet of commercial banks.

As we have already shown, the nature and scope of Social Rights are individual property rights that are brought together in a life project to manage a common property. We are here at the heart of the true democracy of the people for the people. The use of the social rights brought by the citizens who are members of the Networks of Life is organized through political action, the third level of human activity. But through this management of common property, how much freedom does the citizen retain?

In reality, this question refers to the conditions for conversion between the full currency and social rights.

The objective is to limit the circulation of legal tender created by the discount of Work Orders or Work Offer Vouchers. In some cases, this conversion can be immediate and the center of management of the citizen’s political institution, his free city then uses his small reserve provided for this type of case. In other cases, there is a lead time because it is a matter of modifying the work forecast made and listed in the Plan. This is particularly the case when an activity is going to take place in countries still under the liberal system of power or under a theocracy, a dictatorship and this activity is paid for in foreign currencies. Finally, in other cases, such conversion is prohibited to protect citizens.

Example: the capitalization of the social rights provided for retirement or for end-of-life dependency is not convertible and, on the other hand, this allocation cannot be modified to take, for example, an expensive holiday or other consumption at a younger age. On the death of the citizen, if there are unused social rights, they are transferred to citizens who no longer have them, for example because they live much longer than the average taken into account in the forecasts. In the event that they are too numerous to be used in this distribution between pensioners and people at the end of their lives, they are reallocated to the life projects in progress.

A particular use may be envisaged for the consumption of intangible goods and services: training, apprenticeship, the use of a digital common good. Payment in Social Rights can be easier and more secure than with legal tender. This has the merit of being integrated into this unconditional basic income which serves to guarantee the validity of the life project developed by a citizen. This solution remains consistent with the principle of a planned future consumption, the payment of which is already financed by social rights acquired or to be acquired until such consumption.

The capitalization of Social Rights thus represents very large amounts well above the legal currency in circulation and also the financial volume of bills of exchange and labor offer vouchers.

The Central Bank of the Confederation manages the daily evolution of these 3 financial masses and verifies that the conversions between one or the other remain flexible and efficient.

The objective of the Central Bank of the Confederation of Living Networks is to ensure that there is enough legal currency and social rights to support citizens. As a result, it may decide, if necessary, when discounting the Work Orders presented by the Management Center of a political institution that the creation of financial wealth will be in Social Rights if their level to prepare the future so requires.

Economic agents with their newly acquired social rights, if they do not want to spare them in the Mutual Life of their Free City, can immediately use them in the consumption of goods and services produced by Common Goods: training, health, leisure, etc. This is a simple and direct way to push for the development of the Common Goods. For example, in the field of Health, the immediate consumption of a good or service intended for the prevention of diseases or accidents and carried out in a Common good, care facility, cure facility, climatic station, etc., is consistent in order to minimize the later consumption of heavier and expensive care in the event of serious diseases.


The capitalization of Social Rights, such as the Full Currency, is managed off the balance sheet of commercial banks, by the management center of the city free of the citizen’s membership.

As for the full mint, we can take the image of a shoebox in which the citizen deposits his financial property titles called Social Rights. He therefore owns two boxes of shoes, the first for the Mint and the second for Social Rights, one for today, the other for tomorrow. These two boxes are kept and managed by the Center de gestion de sa Ville libre. The Full Currency by the Management Center and Social Rights by the Mutual Fund of the Management Center.

Both shoeboxes are therefore secured like off-balance sheet funds of a commercial bank in the liberal banking system. In the event of a crisis or malfeasance in the affairs of a Free City, the financial resources of citizens are protected. Currently in the banking system, the management of accounts or off-balance sheet funds is similarly protected in the event of mismanagement of the bank’s business. The owner of the off-balance sheet funds transfers these accounts to another bank that is doing better, and that is all. In the Networks of Life with the use of a Full Currency, the same is true. In the case of management by a commercial bank, the accounts (shoeboxes) in Full Currency or Social Rights are placed off the balance sheet of the bank. In the case of the Management Center of a Political Institution or the Mutuelle de la Ville libre, the accounts are managed “in a shoebox” as if they were off-balance sheet of the institution. In the event of a problem and loss of trust, a citizen can leave a local institution and join another elsewhere. He will take his personal “two shoeboxes” with him.

Where appropriate, perpetrators of crises and embezzlement are brought to justice. The Assembly of Political Action decides on the purification of accounts and their recovery which will necessarily require the creation of teams of Life projects to produce new wealth with honest and sincere management, transparency and without betrayal of a number of leaders or with this time significantly higher management skills.

Their management depends at the individual level on the Life project developed by a citizen member of the Life Networks. We will present this Personal Life Project in the next chapter on social institutions. This project, which ensures the material and intangible conditions to advance in his human condition and find his reasons for living, is thus financed from the birth of a human being until his death. He has every interest in sharing his project by participating in the political life and the work of the institutions of the Life Networks so as to guarantee a level of funding that corresponds to his personal project. Clearly, he has every interest in participating in the joint exercise of power and his mission as an Authority, in remaining free during his human existence. It will not lack financial resources. Labor precedes Capital, such is the value of the humanist culture in which it evolves that guarantees its choice of civilization.

Let us not forget, however, the ferocity of wars and conflicts that ravaged Europe during the destruction and looting of the wealth of the medieval period, the time of cathedrals.

Life networks are better prepared , armed, have better and more complete knowledge today than yesterday to defeat the lords of wars and the pors, thieves of all kinds. We have what it takes to succeed in a new period of prosperity in our humanity after the failures of the wars of peasants, wars of religion and all the wars during which the resistance fighters, the activists of organizations in social life networks against despots, the police, military and today financial, have been massacred, imprisoned, rejected and put in oblivion.

We will not forget!

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