• Version
  • Download 35
  • File Size 160 KB
  • File Count 1
  • Create Date 2022-04-08
  • Last Updated 2022-04-12

Governing as Commons or as Global Public Goods: Two Tales of Power

Authors: Nicolás Brando, Christiaan Boonen, Samuel Cogolati, Rutger Hagen, Nils Vanstappen and Jan Wouters
Source: International Journal of the Commons
Year: 2019

Commons and global public goods have become popular concepts in academic debates on governance. Moreover, these concepts are no longer the exclusive domain of economists. Different disciplines (such as legal and political theory) have appropriated them in their own specific ways. The result of this popularity, however, is that they are often confused or used in ways that muddle their distinct characteristics. In this article we propose some distinctions to clarify the use of these concepts. First, the authors show how what were initially social scientific concepts started being used in a more normative way. Second, we will subject the writings of Elinor Ostrom and Inge Kaul and colleagues to a discourse analysis. This means that the authors show that some normative assumptions were already present in the concepts of ‘commons’ and ‘global public goods’. The authors take it that, although Ostrom and Kaul are often read as social scientists, it is both possible and fruitful to read them as proposing two very different visions of power in a globalizing world. In a third section, the authors then demonstrate more concretely what these visions look like. Finally, we conclude by looking at the possible advantages and downsides to both models.

Attached Files