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Protecting What Belongs to Everyone

09 Apr

commons

Earth is a sacred and magical place. There’s enough natural abundance here for all of us to be fed, clothed and housed many times over. And yet billions of people still go to bed hungry, live in devastating conditions, and are forced to eke out an existence in the most dangerous and toxic of realities. All life, yours, mine, ours, comes from the planet’s freely given elements. But when it comes time to return the favor, to care for the earth as it cares for us, a handful of elites have persuaded us that what we ought to do is treat the earth like an endless storehouse, and put the very life systems that we all depend upon up for sale to the highest bidder. If we’re going to have a future, we’ve got to reverse the equation and start to manage those things that all life depends on in a way that respects life above all else, including profit. […]

The process of transforming nature into commodities opens up an important question: who owns the trees that cover the land, the minerals beneath the soil, or the fish in the oceans? Don’t these things belong to everyone in common? When corporations and states assume the right to destroy essential forests, mine mountains of finite minerals, and strip the seas of life, they are taking something that rightly belongs to everyone, that is needed for all life to exist, and selling it off for their own private advantage. This is called “enclosure” of the commons.

This process of enclosure is gaining pace all over the world, particularly in the global South. As a condition for receiving loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), developing countries are being forced to privatize their commons – to enclose them for private use. This means giving multinational corporations the right to exploit their natural resources and public services for private profit, to the benefit of a tiny elite rather than for the good of the people, and with little consideration for the planet.

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Posted by on April 9, 2016 in Articles

 

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