If one thing has become clear since the financial collapse of 2008, it is that some privileged players were abusing the system for their private, competitive advantage. They were, in the language of the commons, free riders. They could milk the system for unfair profits at the expense of everyone else.
The koan for our times might be: How can there be a devastating financial crash that produces no serious financial reform? Like all koans, this one is instructive because it forces us to contemplate the deeper reality that lies beneath superficial appearances.
Why has the international community been unable to bring the full range of commons issues and their representatives into strategic discussions? James Quilligan tackles this question in the spring/summer 2010 issue of Kosmos magazine, "the journal for world citizens creating the new civilization."
Last week’s enactment of historic health care legislation eclipsed another momentous victory for the commons: the reclamation of the federal student loan program which had been captured and milked for decades by voracious private lenders.
Despite the huge infusions of bailout capital by the federal government, many banks continue their reluctance to lend, even to creditworthy businesses and individuals. If nothing else, the banking crisis of the past 18 months has shown that when the chips are down, it’s the government and taxpayers who do the bidding of the banks, not vice-versa. The common wealth is commandeered to shore up private wealth because "the free market" is seen as the only realistic vehicle for advancing the common good.