The Comedy of The Commons

The tragedy of the commons is a lie told from the perspective of a corporation. If it were told by a human it would look more like this:

An oak tree might be in the commons. Its shade, in summer, is reserved for the shepherd and his flock; its acorns are reserved for the pigs of the neighboring peasants; its dry branches serve as fuel for the widows of the village; some of its fresh twigs in springtime are cut as ornaments for the church – and at sunset it might be the place for the village assembly.
When people spoke about commons, iriai, they designated an aspect of the environment that was limited, that was necessary for the community’s survival, that was necessary for different groups in different ways, but which, in a strictly economic sense, was not perceived as scarce.

– Ivan Illich

I highly suggest giving the whole article a read for more necessary context of Ivan Illich’s view on silence, democracy, and political ecology. It will add a wealth of perspective to several of my articles, as well as to your daily life.

Photo Credits: shade trees by Chip Tait

If you like what you read, feel free to share. Basic Rules: Be civil. We are all people and deserve respect. That’s a hard and fast rule, by the way, it is not optional. Other than that, anything goes.