Inspired by possible relationship between Tragedy of the Commons and cascading crises I was reading this article about Energy Efficiency. This in turn inspired me to write this blog. The article states the following about Energy Efficiency: “can benefit all members of society, any member can extract private profit from them, and they can only be achieved collectively” and it mentions the tragedy why it’s not working: “it’s not recognized as a common”.
Now here we come at an interesting point. Probable everyone or most people on earth would be willing to assist in a collectively achieved strategy if there was private profit in return. So it is not as much the fact that something (in this example “Energy Efficiency”) is not recognized as a common, but much more it is the fear of not being able to handle a collective strategy. This fear might however be just an illusion. We recognize Energy Effiency certainly as a common trait, but since we have separated our world in (illusionary!) zones, we don’t recognize it as a common strategy. So it’s all in the wording. Words like City, Province, State, Country, Contintent make us think that we can pinpoint problems limited by these geographic borders. But this is an illusion! Problems don’t end at our illusionary borders. And we invented these “border” illusions ourselves! So what if these illusionary borders just didn’t exist?
Suppose we would only have a single geographic border and we would call it “World”. And from that “border” on we start optimizing our common interests. Could it work? Ofcourse it can. Look at the Internet. It’s a very good example of a borderless infrastructure that behaves more or less as an architecture which:
- was designed with borderlessness in mind
- was designed so that all members of society can collectively benefit from it and any member can extract private profit from it
- crosses geographic and language borders
- is widely recognized as a common
- is easy to understand
- is simple to connect to
- and it works! (proven technology)
So why not extend the principles of this concept into other areas. Think for example of a future Internet of Energy (leading to abundant Energy for everyone at any time and place and creating an overall Energy Effiency that single, localized solutions could never reach on their own). There are probably many other examples where this concept could work. And finally we would benefit very much of having an Internet of Global Trust that helps us building a better world. If we would have a (global) trust that we are both able and willing to repair the tragedy of our current common languages (which is mainly based on local-only optimization strategies), then there will be definitely possibilities for better global commons, leading to a good life for all of us. Instead of focusing on Tragedy of the Commons, let’s start focusing on it’s antonym: the Comedy of the Commons. Good luck with your quest for less tragedy and more comedy!