Plunder of the Commons

Plunder of the Commons

A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth

Summary

'One of the most important books I've read in years' Brian Eno

We are losing the commons. Austerity and neoliberal policies have depleted our shared wealth; our national utilities have been sold off to foreign conglomerates, social housing is almost non-existent, our parks are cordoned off for private events and our national art galleries are sponsored by banks and oil companies. This plunder deprives us all of our common rights, recognized as far back as the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest of 1217, to share fairly and equitably in our public wealth.

Guy Standing leads us through a new appraisal of the commons, stemming from the medieval concept of common land reserved in ancient law from marauding barons, to his modern reappraisal of the resources we all hold in common - a brilliant new synthesis that crystallises quite how much public wealth has been redirected to the 1% in recent decades through the state-approved exploitation of everything from our land to our state housing, health and benefit systems, to our justice system, schools, newspapers and even the air we breathe. Plunder of the Commons proposes a charter for a new form of commoning, of remembering, guarding and sharing that which belongs to us all, to slash inequality and soothe our current political instability.

Reviews

  • Brilliant, insightful, terse, apposite, daring, and transformative. A must read to understand both the past and the future
    Danny Dorling, author of All That Is Solid

About the author

Guy Standing

Guy Standing has held professorships at Bath, London and Monash Universities, was a programme director in the UN's International Labour Organisation and has advised many international bodies and governments on social and economic policies. He co-founded the Basic Income Earth Network and is now its co-president. He is author of the bestselling The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (2011), Basic Income: And How We Can Make it Happen (2017) and Plunder of the Commons: A Manifesto for Sharing Public Wealth (2019).
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