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§1 Commoning in a world of bodies

The material landscape of provision and access - and its radical transforming and mobilising

People mundanely engage with the de facto, dynamic, evolving material organisation of the world out-there, in meeting needs of people in-here for material means of subsistence and wellbeing. Configurations of people and stuff in everyday life and work are implicated. In general these systems are ecosystems, and many of them are #wild. Curating, stewarding and appropriately enjoying material commons is basic - constitutive - in the Living Economy: a challenge in both project time and planetary time.


Key pattern §100 - Weaving the Living Economy



Figure 3 : The material landscape of provision and access

Figure 3 deploys the basic system-description format: structures/processes/behaviours. It summarises some of the central constructs that are developed in patterns of landscape §1, regarding:


  • Structure - Diverse modes of materiality of means of subsistence and wellbeing (notably including algorithm-driven machines and ‘protocol machinery’ such as money, alongside ‘nature’ in wild and would-be domesticated forms).

  • Process - Diverse processes of material organisation and transformation implicated in wellbeing (notably limits of existence within Kate Raworth’s ‘doughnut’ - Living gracefully within the doughnut).

  • Behaviour - A weave of regimes of provision and access to means of subsistence and wellbeing - four  ‘grand sectors’. The 2x2 schema is derived from Robin Murray's 2009 Danger and opportunity. The form and dynamics and interconnections of a sector vary enormously according to the historically dominant, emergent and residual RoPs in the sector. While the relations of capital (wage labour, private ownership of means of production, surplus value extraction, commodity economy, cancerous money) are the most familiar in critical theorising of economies, extractivist and propertarian relations - and their antitheses which constitute commoning - are of enormous significance in the present day, and enormously extend the considerations of economic development far beyond the ubiquitous religious commitments to 'innovation' and growth

This is a world mobilised in fact - in practice - by §2 labour power and §3 valuing and recognition, living in and mobilised in actual persons, P2P co-makers of society. But practices operate - in civilisations, and especially in the modern world - over very large extents of space and time, through arcs of machines (notably today, algorithmic and administrative machines) or built environment. This also, of course is the sphere of nature-in-itself: the ‘wild commons’ of ecosystem and microbiome, climate and biodiversity, thermodynamics and hormones.


None of these systems - human-made or wild - ‘care’ about whether what they are doing is of value to us. Fundamentally, they constitute #weather for humans and societies. Use-value is produced by us - by organising, historically - and does not inhere in things. Whatever material stuff does, it does it powerfully, with absolute force: fiat.

Next | §2 - Cultural commons


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