A coalition of European organizations have produced a 7-minute animated video that helps people understand the recent phenomenon of the “financialization of nature,” a new term to describe the pricing of aspects of nature that were never given economic value before and the increasing involvement of the financial sector in owning and controlling land and resources. To better understand this phenomenon, the coalition has a website with numerous articles and other resources.
We are especially concerned about this because many of our organizations work in the global South and see how local people lose control over their lands when distant financiers buy their land in order to speculate.
As an alternative to financialization, many of our organizations would favor the use of Commons management techniques. Nobel economist Elinor Ostrom has studied hundreds of small and large scale examples of communities coming to together to develop rules for using local resources.
She has identified eight principles in Commons management:
1. Define clear group boundaries.
2. Match rules governing use of common goods to local needs and conditions.
3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.