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Economics of Abundance

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Escola dels communs de Catalunya organizes: Debate "Economics of Abundance" with the author of the book Wolfgang Hoeschele

  • Data/Date: 3th Agost 2012
  • Hora/Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM (We will go together to take tapas afterword (Optional))
  • Lloc/Place: Vila web C/Ferlandina 43 Barcelona (http://www.vilaweb.cat) (with air conditional)
  • Language: The session will be in English. Questions and interventions will be also welcome (and translated simultaneously) in Catalan.
  • Live streaming will be provided http://www.livestream.com/escolacommons
  • Hastag: #E2C
  • IRC channel: E2C

Presentation of the book "Economics of Abundance: A Political Economy of Freedom, Equity and Sustainability" by the author Wolfgang Hoeschele and general participatory debate on the sostenibility of the commons.


Organized by the Escola dels communs de Catalunya (School of the commons of Catalonia). The event is supported by the Internet and public policies (Digital Commons) research at the Institute of Government and Public Policies (IGOP), Consell Audiovisual Catala (CAC), and gratfully hosting by Vila Web.

Contact: escuelacommons@lists.contrast.org or by phone 0034-648877748)

About the Book "Economics of Abundance" & Wolfgang Hoeschele

Wolfgang Hoeschele. Economics of Abundance: A Political Economy of Freedom, Equity and Sustainability. 2010. Published by Gower.


(Sinopsis en catala)

L'economia hegemònica promou una visió de l'economia definida com alocar recursos escassos per cobrir necessitats il·limitades. En el seu llibre Wolfgang Hoeschele qüestiona tots dos axiomes: promoure necessitats de consum (il·limitades) i crear escarcitats (fictícies) es la base del funcionament de l'economia capitalista, però no l'única possible. L'economia de la abundància parteix enlloc de centrar-mos en assegurar les necessitats “reials” (necessitats bàsiques com ara alimentació, educació, sanitat, habitatge) i en institucions que promovem l'abundància a partir de les possibilitats que obre la cooperació. Hoeschele ens proposa un marc de conjunt que permet lligar la sostenibilitat de les experiències de bens comuns i del comú, i a partir d'aquí reclamar l'economia. L'aportació del llibre s'ha de situar en el context estado-unident d'on es l'autor, així, resulta revelador com el marc de l'economia de l'abundància Hoeschele promou anar més enllà de preservar les llibertats que centrals a molts discursos a EEUU; quan la llibertat no arriba a tots i totes - i no va acompanyada de justícia social - perd el seu significat, ens diu. Així, Hoeschele proposa centrar-mos en crear l'“art de viure” (per tots i totes) enlloc d'anar darrere de l'acumulació infinita, un concepte que potser – bo recordar-ho en els temps que corren - no resultarà estrany als que vivim a les voreres del mediterrani.

About "Escola dels communs de Catalunya"

Towards a ‘School of the Commons’ in Catalonia

The ‘Escuela de los Commons’/'School of the Commons’ is a horizontal platform for the production, exchange and dissemination of knowledge resulting from communal management of tangible resources (woods, earth, squares, gardens) and intangible ones (software, knowledge, information). The Commons – those processes and resources that don’t operate under the logic of mercantile/private property nor under state hierarchy – are nowadays an object of study and experimentation by many organisations, social collectives and local communities. Today it is a priority to share and optimise those expressions of knowledge produced and managed by the social body. We think that the commons contain many of the keys to move towards a social model that is sustainable and based in the principles of social justice. The ‘Escuela de los commons’ has as its principal objective to practice hybrid models of learning. It aims to be a social school where P2P – peer production – methodologies are melted with more traditional formats of learning. The different actions that can be developed from the ‘escuela de los commons’, like formal and informal education, academic and non-academic research, reciprocal consulting services, a project incubator or dissemination space and transfer of existing experiences, etc, can help to think the school itself as a commons. Like a communal resource that can be economically sustainable, that can satisfy the demand of its community and those of akin communities that join the experience. Several similar initiatives in different geographies and with different local communities are set up with similar objectives. It should be observed that the ‘Escuela de los Commons’ seeks to establish close contact with likeminded initiatives and has done so from the start. In this respect, the aim is to jointly develop a “commons model” for schools of the commons, sharing resources and contributions, and developing reference implementations and replications globally.



The project started in 2011. The main activities developed until now are bi-monthy self-formation sessions around different commons such as commons and democracy and public space, commons and the market, natural commons, among others. Other topics of our interest are digital commons, models of commons governance, commons and new social rights, commons and political enterprises, commons and economical enterprises, economical sustainability of the commons, and finally, relationships with social movements and the “mainstream” culture. Each of our self-education sessions is prepared by a presenter and then we have a general debate. The school is nomadic – we intentionally decided to meet each time in a different place connected to a commons experience. Its nomadic character is a way to spread the commmons and network the project with commons experiences in the region. In each session we tried to involve also people from the field and invite other people particularly interested or working in each session topic. Among others, we have met in – Zinccc – a co-working space of the creative sector in Barcelona’s Raval neighbourhood; in a self-managed social centre – Infoespai – in Gracia, which hosts an organic cooperative (Cooperative Infoespai) and provide techno-political tools; in the center for de-growth studies based in Barcelona and connected to the ICTA institute; and, in the Institute of Governmental and Public Policies of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (http://igop.uab.cat) which is synergically connected to the School. Participation to the session also take place though online channels (Skype). Furthermore, we tried to record each session and plan to edit a video on the commons from those recordings.

We also have a recently created working group which is designing a curriculum on the Commons for several typologies of study programmes (http://p2pfoundation.net/E2C/Curriculum_Design). Activities could include: introductory workshop; on- and offline debates; (guest) lectures; essays; and, contributions to specific commons. We seek commons-based pedagogies, peer learning and activity-based programmes. Complementing online work from a distance with face-to-face encounters. Peer support and peer assessment can be a strong part, while depending on the sustainability model, there could be a commitment from experienced mentors to accompany participants (apprentices) on their learning path and provide feedback to assignments. To form a true educational commons and allow the use and reuse by others under equal conditions, in this regard, all content shall be under free licenses. In this sense activities can be designed that help construct the commons-based educational programme, where every participant contributes her/his little grain to the larger education commons.

The group also celebrated a workshop on the commons as part of Digital Commons Forum in Barcelona on October 2011, together with Amical Viquipedia (the Catalan association on Wikipedia). Finally, through the School’s mailing list, we keep connected and use it both as a coordination tool and as a forum of exchange and debate on news and inputs.

The group

The group is formed by a “remix” of commoners, some coming from digital commons experiences such as Wouter Tebbens (Free Knowledge Institute), Mayo Fuster Morell (Catalan Viquipedia, Digital Commons Forum and researcher on the governance of digital commons (onlinecreation.info)) and Enric Senabre working on community sourcing and sustainability (goteo.org), natural commons such as Giacomo D’Alice researcher on natural commons and Economics and Technologies for sustainable development at the Institute of Science and enviromental technologies (ICTA), cultural commons such as Ruben Martinez working on public policies, social innovation and culture and commons enterprises) (empresasdelprocomun.net and leyseca.net) and Nicolas Barbieri on cultural policies and third sector, additionally, Joan Subirats and Marco Berlinguer develop political analysis linked to (as other members) the Institute of Government and Public Policies (igop.uab.cat), Guillermo Rojo is part of the cooperative movement and in concrete Cooperativa ETCS, and Javier Creus is a creative from ideasforchange.com.

Most of us combine involvement in commons experiences with developing research in the area. Around 1/3 of more active participants are from other European and Latino-American countries. Unfortunately, there is a remarkable male predominance in the group, but we are trying to balance it. A part of these more regular participants, we are connected (mainly though the e-list and the self-formation sessions) with a larger network of people and experiences.

(Extracted from The nascent story of the Escuela de los Commons @ Future of Occupy magazine.)


Links to other resources on Digital Commons - IGOP Research

Més enllà d'Internet com a eina "martell” - eina de la vella política: Cap un nou Policy Making?. Els casos del Moviment de Cultura Lliure i pel Procomú Digital i el 15M a Catalunya. Per Fuster Morell, M. & Subirats, J. (2012). Institut de Govern i Polítiques Publiques (UAB) i Escola d'Administració Publica de Catalunya. (139 pagines). Accessible a: http://bit.ly/HhGzcJ

The Unethics of Sharing: Wikiwashing. By Fuster Morell, M. (2011). International Review of Information Ethics. Accessible a: http://www.i-r-i-e.net/inhalt/015/015-Morell.pdf

Governance of online creation communities. Provision of infrastructure for the building of digital commons. (Section: Introduction to the commons and digital commons). By Fuster Morell, M. (2010). Thesis doctoral. Social and Political Science Department. European University Institute (Florence). Accessible a: http://www.onlinecreation.info

Otra sociedad, ¿otra política? Del “no nos representan” a la democracia de lo común. Por Subirats, J. (2011). Barcelona, Icaria Asaco. Accessible a: http://www.icariaeditorial.com/libros.php?id=1253

Derechos urbanos digitales y políticas públicas en la era digital. Por Fuster Morell, M. (2012). En Josep Maria Montaner y Joan Subirats (Ed.). Repensar les politiques urbanes. Diputacio de Barcelona: Barcelona. Accessible a: http://bit.ly/L1cbZm

The season of revolutions: the Arab Spring and European mobilizations. Special issue. Interface: a journal for and about social movements. Issue 4/1. Accessible a: http://www.interfacejournal.net/

Models de sostenibilitat en la era digital. Per Marco Berlinguer, Ruben Martinez, Mayo Fuster Morell i Joan Subirats. Accessible a: http://wiki.digital-commons.net/Recerca_CAC/_2012

Altres recursos – documentació d'esdeveniments sobre digital commons:

Understanding the New Wave of Social Cooperation: A Triangulation of the Arab Revolutions, European Mobilizations and the American Occupy Movement. March 21st, 2012 Harvard University. http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/21M12socialcooperation

Digital Commons International Forum. 29 & 30 of October 2011. http://www.digital-commons.net & http://wiki.digital-commons.net