Recently I started reading about regenerative economics and I became particularly interested in the role of the commons. Actually no, I’ve been interested in the role of the commons for a while, I just didn’t know it was called that. The reason for my interest is that firstly, the mainstream systems we are part of are designed to create winners and losers; so a few people will gain wealth, which will allow them to have greater opportunities…to gain wealth. The poor will be indebted to the rich (think of loans – for small items like TVs or furniture a person can end up spending £1800 on a TV worth £400 if they buy it on credit and make minimum repayments, which is likely what they can afford). This is costly in relation to climate change because those wealthy few want to be able to keep extracting wealth as is so will aim to shape policy to keep doing what they do and to avoid responsibility for cleaning up after themselves. Governments are also afraid to lose growth as it means they may lose revenue (and sometimes, personal payouts by the rich).
I care deeply about these things because it touches upon my two passions; health inequality and climate change. Climate change is a huge public health issue, so as someone who works in health psychology (a profession which has spawned behavioural science for public health) it matters that we understand how wider systems affect the work we do with the people we serve. There’s also the more personal worries about my future and that of people I love of course, and I think it’s important to understand ideas beyond my little niche.
Credit to Elaine Casap on Unsplash for the image
However, economic theories often neglect the role of the commons in favour of the markets and assigning monetary value to everything. However, the knowledge and resources we share on here are part of the commons. We share it with each other freely, as part of a community. We can create change and meet other like minded people, we can share curious facts and be playful. And it’s important for us to remember that when creating and curating content on a platform like this. Because when you assign a price to something, you can change a person’s relationship with it; it can become something a person does for external reward and recognition, rather than about sharing to create for the wider social good or to connect with something beyond themselves. I'll talk more about that in my next topic post on connecting with values. Stay Tuned!