Commons (economics)

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This article is about the term in economics. For other uses of the term Commons, please see Commons (disambiguation).

Commons refers to:

  1. A pool or set of common resources together with the agents controlling inflows and outflows of resources from the pool;
  2. A bundle of rights held jointly or collectively by a group of people; traditionally referred to land or real property, more recently also includes many other types of valuables (knowledge, open source software information, copyrights, social relations);
  3. (3) An association of those controlling such pools or collectively holding such rights.

"The commons is neither private nor public: neither business firm nor state utility, neither jealously guarded private plot nor national or city park. But it is not usually open to all: the relevant local community typically decides who uses it and how. Indeed, commons regimes can be defined more through their social and cultural organization than their physical location: for example, local or group power, distinctions between members and non-members, rough parity among members, a concern with common safety rather than accumulation, and an absence of the constraints which lead to economic scarcity." [1]


  1. Nicholas Hildyard, Larry Lohmann, Sarah Sexton and Simon Fairlie. Reclaiming the Commons. Paper presented at the 1995 Annual Conference of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom, York.