Wednesday, 5 April 2017

"Share Like A Library (not like Uber)" - notice of new and forthcoming publications

 In the 21st century, as trading blocks grow in popularity, to provide greater economic power in a global economy, economic forces and their political expressions are less and less personal and the inevitable result is a desire for more direct and unfiltered communicative contact, aka populism, either inclusive and egalitarian or, unfortunately, but often, xenophobic.  The same phenomenon applies to the historically progressive response to the gross inequality resulting from increasingly uncontrolled private ownership and markets: nationalization and public ownership. To most workers, the “state” in Brussels, Ottawa, Washington or Beijing, feels as remote as high finance centres like Wall Street or Bay Street.

A popular alternative to bring economics closer to the public is available; it is called the commons. It is time to revive the idea and reality of the commons, not as a cosmetic device to hide inequality but to provide genuine economic participation to all who labour. To understand the relevance and increasing attractiveness of the commons model after a long period of enclosure and privatization we recommend attention to one incarnation of the commons model that has stood the test of time: the library. As a commons the library is a community trust from which users borrow, but do not consume. The library is particularly relevant because its long history extends from the time of the earliest known territorial commons to the virtual commons, the Internet, of recent times. In a future publication we will look at the original library concept and celebrate its historic and recent extension to many fields beyond books, from seeds to  tools. and beyond. Far from dead the library model  is alive and well. In keeping with the sustainable concept "the circular economy" libraries have long internally referred to their process of resource distribution as "circulation".    

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