Should We Look for a Hero to Save Us from the Coronavirus? The Commons as an Alternative Trajectory for Social Change

Keywords: commons, degrowth, peer production, sharing economy, post-capitalism


The coronavirus outbreak has come in the aftermath of other concerning and disastrous events, from the rainforest fires in the Amazon to the wildfires of Australia. So far, the political response worldwide has been limited to identifying the villain and the hero who will first invent the life-saving vaccine. However, in a time of crisis, it is becoming obvious that the problem is not external but rather embedded and systemic. We argue that a political economy based on compound economic growth is unsustainable. While the pandemic is no proof of the unsustainability of economic growth as such, the speed and scope of this disease are driven by the interconnectivities of accelerated globalization. Through three ongoing cases, which we have been studying following a participatory action research approach, we discuss an alternative trajectory of a post-capitalist future based on the convergence of localized manufacturing with the digitally shared knowledge commons.

Reflections (Non Peer-Reviewed)