Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth

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Psychology Press, 2003 - Business & Economics - 260 pages
2 Reviews
'They hang the man and flog the woman That steal the goose from off the common, But let the greater villain loose That steals the common from the goose.' - Traditional nursery rhyme Until a 1998 federal court decision, a Minnesota publisher claimed to own every federal court decision, including Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education. A Texas company was recently allowed to calm a patent on basmati rice, a kind of rice grown in India for hundreds of years. The Mining Act of 1872 is still in effect, allowing companies to buy land from the government at USD5 and acre if they pan to mine it. These are resources that belong to al of use, yet they are being given away to companies with anything but the common interest in mind. Where was the public outcry, or the government intervention, when these were happening? The answers are alarming. Private corporations are consuming the resources that the American people collectively own at a staggering rate, and the government is not protecting the commons on our behalf. In Silent Theft , David Bollier exposes the audacious attempts of companies to appropriate medical breakthroughs, public airwaves, outer space, state research, and even the DNA of plants and animals. Amazingly, these abuses often go unnoticed, Bollier argues, because we have lost our ability to see the commons. Publicly funded technological innovations create common wealth (cell phone airwaves, internet addresses, gene sequences) at blinding speed, while an economic atmosphere of deregulation and privatization ensures they will be quickly bought and sold. In an age of market triumphalism, does the notion of the commons have any practical meaning? Crisp and revelatory, Silent Theft is a bold attempt to develop a new language of the commons, a new ethos of commonwealth in the face of a market ethic that knows no bounds.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wisemetis - LibraryThing

This was a very interesting book about how the government and industry are enclosing the commonwealth that rightly belongs to people, like medical and scientific knowledge, natural resources, and even ... Read full review

Review: Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth

User Review  - Andrea - Goodreads

David Bollier is far from many of the more revolutionary notions of the commons, as his writing makes clear: “It is not market activity itself which is objectionable; it is the intrusion of market ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The Commons Gift Economies and Enc1osure
13
Reclaiming the Narrative of the Commons
15
The Stubborn Vitality of the Gift Economy
27
When Markets Enclose the Commons
43
Varieties of Market Enc1osure
57
Enclosing the Commons of Nature
59
The Colonization of Frontier Commons
69
The Commercialization of Culture and Public Spaces
147
The Giveaway of Federal Drug Research and Information Resources
163
Protecting the Commons
173
The Commons Another Kind of Property
175
Strategies for Protecting the Commons
189
Notes
211
Bibliography
247
About the Author
251

The Abuse of the Publics Natural Resources
85
Can the Internet Commons Be Saved?
99
The Privatization of Public Knowledge
119
Enclosing the Academic Commons
135

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About the author (2003)

David Bollier has worked for twenty years as a journalist, activist, and public policy analyst. He is Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Director of the Information Commons Project at the New America Foundation. He is also co-founder of Public Knowledge, a public-interest advocacy organization dedicated to defending the commons of the Internet, science and culture.

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