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The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose. - Anonymous [1]

A Commons is one way of managing the products of labor, as well as the inputs labor needs to do its job. Under a commons system, these products and inputs are held jointly by a community, with various use rights negotiated among community members.


Appearances in the class reading

  • In An Anarchist FAQ, anarchy is explained and justified. It states that anarchy is a theory where the goals are centralized on equality of its individuals and the sense of community. Because of the consensus nature of the people and the high regard for equality, the aspect of the commons is indeed important.
  • One of the central themes explored in The Dispossessed questions the right to own property and the benefit of a commons system. Shevek is from an anarchist society where sharing work and ideas is encouraged. The lack of private property and wealth eliminated the distinction between the proletariat and the bourgeois, and gave men and women equal rights and opportunities. The downplay of individualism made it difficult for Shevek to publish his own works, so he travels to the home planet Urras, where he explores the benefits and disadvantages of a society based on the ownership of property.
  • Accelerando: Manfred patents many different ideas and technologies and then gifts them to the Free Intellect Foundation. The Free Intellect Foundation places these patents in the public domain; thereby, keeping corporations from monopolizing the idea to make money for themselves at the detriment of all others.

Appearances in other media

Intersections with other Tropes


  1. Qtd. in Boyle, James. The Second Enclosure Movement. p 33
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