The Dilemma of the Commoners

The Dilemma of the Commoners : Understanding the Use of Common-Pool Resources in Long-Term Perspective

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One of the classic problems in social science is known as 'the dilemma of the commons', in which land, water, and other resources held jointly by social or economic segments tend to be depleted sooner and to a greater extent than privately held assets. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many aspects of western European society changed fundamentally, including the abolition of common-property rights, which in itself was related to social and economic shifts in that same society. This book intends to put the debate on commons, commoners, and the disappearance of both throughout early modern and modern northwestern Europe in a new light, through new approaches and innovative methodologies. Tine De Moor aims to link the historical debate about the long-term evolution of commons to the present-day debates on common-pool resources, as well as touching upon various disciplines within the social sciences that work on commons more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 10 b/w illus.
  • 1139135457
  • 9781139135450

Review quote

'Few people are more prepared than Tine De Moor to delve in the historical record of the commons, and to help restore the longue duree in our thinking about the commons. Now that the commons, in their old physical formats but also crucially in their new knowledge and digitally enabled formats, are making a return on the world stage, long-term thinking and an acquaintance with how they solved perennial issues is more important than ever. Maintaining sustainable commons over the longer term is crucial to protect our biosphere, and De Moor gives us the tools and historical experience to do so.' Michel Bauwens, Founder, Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives 'Why, in a world of selfish individuals, does cooperation emerge? The book by Tine De Moor is a challenging response to this main question through a long-period reconstruction of common action in Europe, where common lands, guilds, and communities are the main actors. We discover in the end that we are a little less selfish than we thought and that to be less selfish is, perhaps, in our interest today. An important read!' Paolo Malanima, Magna Gr'cia University, Italyshow more

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. The emergence of commons and other forms of institutions for collective action in western Europe from the late Middle Ages onwards; 2. Common land and common rights in Flanders; 3. From rules to practice: case description, sources and methodology; 4. The choices of the commoners: understanding utility, efficiency and equity on the commons through the behavior of the commoners; 5. Dealing with dilemmas: conclusions; 6. Epilogue: the revenge of history? The return of the homo cooperans in present-day western European more