Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth / Edition 1

Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth / Edition 1

by David Bollier
     
 

Until a 1998 federal court decision, a Minnesota publisher claimed a monopoly on access to all federal court decisions. A Texas company recently filed a patent on a kind of rice grown in India for centuries. Other businesses now claim ownership of mathematical algorithms embedded in software, valuable public lands acquired for five dollars an acre, and icebergs that… See more details below

Overview

Until a 1998 federal court decision, a Minnesota publisher claimed a monopoly on access to all federal court decisions. A Texas company recently filed a patent on a kind of rice grown in India for centuries. Other businesses now claim ownership of mathematical algorithms embedded in software, valuable public lands acquired for five dollars an acre, and icebergs that they plan to transport and sell as fresh water. In Silent Theft, David Bollier argues that a great untold story of our time is the staggering privatization and abuse of our common wealth. Corporations are engaged in a relentless plunder of dozens of resources that we collectively own -- publicly funded medical breakthroughs, software innovation, the airwaves, the public domain of creative works, and even the DNA of plants, animals, and humans. Too often, however, our government turns a blind eye -- or sometimes helps give away our assets. Amazingly, the silent theft of our shared wealth has gone largely unnoticed because we have lost our ability to see the commons. Spooling out one outrageous story after another, Bollier skillfully weaves together debates about the Internet, the environment, biotechnology, and the communications revolution. His fresh and compelling critique illuminates a rarely explored landscape in our political and cultural life. Crisp and revelatory, Silent Theft is a bold attempt to develop a new language of the commons and, in the face of a market order that knows no bounds, to outline an ambitious new project for reclaiming our common wealth.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415932646
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
03/28/2002
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction1
I.The Commons, Gift Economies, and Enclosure
1Reclaiming the Narrative of the Commons15
2The Stubborn Vitality of the Gift Economy27
3When Markets Enclose the Commons43
II.Varieties of Market Enclosure
4Enclosing the Commons of Nature59
5The Colonization of Frontier Commons69
6The Abuse of the Public's Natural Resources85
7Can the Internet Commons Be Saved?99
8The Privatization of Public Knowledge119
9Enclosing the Academic Commons135
10The Commercialization of Culture and Public Spaces147
11The Giveaway of Federal Drug Research and Information Resources163
III.Protecting the Commons
12The Commons: Another Kind of Property175
13Strategies for Protecting the Commons189
Notes211
Bibliography247
About the Author251
Name Index253
Subject Index255

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