Beyond the State and Market: Theoretical Perspectives on the Commons

Vangelis Papadimitropoulos


This article is primarily a theoretical examination of commons-based peer production. It analyses the contradictions of the commons through a post-hegemonic lens that projects a post-capitalist commons-oriented transition. Starting with a focus on the commons from a political economy perspective, the key characteristics of neoclassical economics are outlined and compared with commons-based economics. The purpose is to identify the potential socio-economic benefits of the latter in contrast to the former. Next, several different conceptual formulations of the commons are discussed. On the political side, this encompasses liberal, reformist and anti-capitalist approaches. On the economic side, the digital economy, moral economy and the possibilities for cooperative, platform-based commons are discussed. Particular emphasis is given to open source and blockchain initiatives designed to interlink commons-based practices and support the formation of a collective subject. The conclusion reflects upon possible directions for a post-hegemonic commons strategy.

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