Sign up
on our mailing list

About the Intercommons

What is a Commons?

A commons in everyday parlance is a common space, often a parcel of open land owned and operated by and for a community of people. We use the term Commons with a big 'C' to denote a class of organizational form that can serve communities of constructive collaboration operating through the medium of Cyberspace.

The Purpose of a Commons

Our conception of a Commons is not simply about the sale of products or services, which is handled well by traditional marketplaces, nor is it a community of interest, which is the domain of clubs or political organizations. When an exchange of value is meant to accomplish a more complex shared goal, this implies there will be a relationship entered into for some period of time. Building relationships through constructive collaborative works is the real purpose of a Commons.

Why do we need to create an organizational paradigm like the Commons?

Our organizations are failing at an increasing rate

Many indications lead us to believe that human society is in the midst of an period of accelerating organizational failure. Companies which have existed for decades or centuries are failing or losing their core expertise. Equity and other financial markets are failing to deliver value to the economy or investment security to individuals. Governments are pulled away from their mandate for democratic representation by powerful special interests. Individuals and families are experiencing job loss and economic disruption at an increasing rate. New ventures are failing in shorter time frames. Conflict and disruptive violence occur with seemingly no ability to ameliorate their root causes.

Our current institutions are not up to the challenges ahead

At the same time, the planet's carrying capacity must sustain an ever more demanding human population and is showing signs of weakening. We believe it is very clear that current organizational structures and processes, whether they be in government, in the business world, or in religious or public organizations, will be unable to respond adequately to a great planetwide crisis. We feel that years at attempted reform of existing institutions illustrates the futility of changing the existing beliefs and practices that are causing them to fail. As economic, climactic, food supply, and disease pressures increase in magnitude, the failure resulting from our current ways of doing things will carry a higher and higer price. An increasingly dynamic planetary system will quite possibly break current institutions before they have a chance to adapt.

Humans can be great organizational toolmakers

Humans are great toolmakers and we can apply this ingenuity to the social tools of organization. New organizational structures are rare and difficult to create, but once established, can have more profound effects on the world and on the lives of individuals than any innovation of technology. We have set out to combine some of the most effective elements of several organizational forms to create a new variant we are calling a Commons. It is our hope that the adoption of a Commons organizational form in many walks of life will enhance the chance that our civilization will survive the coming challenges and emerge in a sustainable balance with our world.

Conceive of what Ought to Be

Conceive of an organization you could really call home, where you could build a good life and become the best at what you do, always experiencing constructive energy and clear communication with everyone you are working with. Many people feel that such an organization is impossible or merely a dream, while some have actually experienced something like this for a short period of time. We believe that this kind of organization can and ought to be common. Indeed such organizations must become the norm to permit us to survive the challenges coming in the very near future.

Design Documents for a Commons

We are now developing design documents which would allow a wide variety of groups to create a Commons or reorganize as a Commons. These include:

Team Members putting together the Intercommons

The Intercommons initiative team includes a bright, diverse growing community. Meet them on our Team Page, and contact us if you would like to be a part of this project.

Key group writings on the Intercommons (from the Intercommons-list)

The following documents will give a bit more of our reasoning why such an effort is called for at this point in history. If you would like to be involved in this effort, do not hesitate to contact us.

If you would like to be involved in this effort, do not hesitate to contact us or sign up on our mailing list.

About the Intercommons | Making Contact | Membership | News

© 2001-2002 The Intercommons, All Rights Reserved.