Medialab Prado


The Tension Between the Public and the Commons

29.05.2013 17:00h

Place: Auditorio (2ª planta/2nd Floor)

General session of the Commons Lab workgroups, where we will discuss the tension between the public-state and its relation with the commons.

Tides of all colors are on the street: green (education), white (health professionals), orange (social services). Responding to the current budget cuts and privatization policies, the public sector is mobilizing to save universal access to basic services for social life. This is a passionate defense that has gone beyond professionals to citizens, calling out to invert the tendency of an aversion of the public domain. 



Nowadays, a constellation of spaces, practices and discourses is being organized around the idea of strength relying in common goods (or the commons), collectively managed resources with a collective benefit. The Commons Lab is part of this constellation. It is always necessary to point out that the commons does not exactly mean “public”. More than services and state goods, the commons includes goods of common property, communally and democratically managed. But amid the current dismantling of the public system, which has been described by politicians as “compensation with non-paid volunteer work performed by citizens”, pressing questions arouse. What is the relationship that can be established between the public and the commons? Are they incompatible? Or can they be allies? Is the commons possible without regulatory and distributive role of the public-state? What can the philosophy of the commons bring to the defense/reinvention of the public domain? Could the public-state become more open in order to be managed and built by society?

Are the economic crisis, the rise of tides and the discourses on participation (and even the commons) among authorities a threat or an opportunity to save the public domain and generate the growth of the commons? What is this dependent on?

These questions will be discussed in the interventions by:

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