The Blue Commons

The Blue Commons

Rescuing the Economy of the Sea

Summary

'A landmark book... The Blue Commons is at once a brilliant synthesis, a searing analysis, and an inspiring call to action.' - David Bollier

'With remarkable erudition, passion and lyricism, Guy Standing commands the reader to wake up to the threat posed by rentier capitalism's violent policies for extraction, exploitation and depletion of that which is both common to us all, but also vital to our survival: the sea and all within it.' - Ann Pettifor

'Shines a bright light on the economy of the oceans, directing us brilliantly towards where a sustainable future lies.' - Danny Dorling

'This is a powerful, visionary book - essential reading for all who yearn for a better world.' - Jason Hickel

The sea provides more than half the oxygen we breathe, food for billions of people and livelihoods for hundreds of millions. But giant corporations are plundering the world's oceans, aided by global finance and complicit states, following the neoliberal maxim of Blue Growth. The situation is dire: rampant exploitation and corruption now drive all aspects of the ocean economy, destroying communities, intensifying inequalities, and driving fish populations and other ocean life towards extinction.

The Blue Commons is an urgent call for change, from a campaigning economist responsible for some of the most innovative solutions to inequality of recent times. From large nations bullying smaller nations into giving up eco-friendly fishing policies to the profiteering by the Crown Estate in commandeering much of the British seabed, the scale of the global problem is synthesised here for the first time, as well as a toolkit for all of us to rise up and tackle it.

The oceans have been left out of calls for a Green New Deal but must be at the centre of the fight against climate change. How do we do it? By building a Blue Commons alternative: a transformative worldview and new set of proposals that prioritise the historic rights of local communities, the wellbeing of all people and, with it, the health of our oceans.

Reviews

  • In this landmark book, Guy Standing not only documents how state-corporate collusion is destroying fragile ocean ecosystems, fisheries, and coastal communities. He explains how degrowth economics and fishery commons could restore the 'Blue Commons-Wealth' that belongs to all of us. The Blue Commons is at once a brilliant synthesis, a searing analysis, and an inspiring call to action
    David Bollier, author of The Commoner’s Catalog for Changemaking

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).
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more