New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Solidify Occupy

December 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Economy, Guest Author, Politics

A Suggestion for What’s Next…

by Charles Imboden

September 17, 2011 in New York City marked the beginning of a movement that has spread around the world. Inspired by the people and events of the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement quickly grew to over 2,500 cities in dozens of countries. With slogans including “We are the 99%,” a principle aim of this movement is to highlight the gross economic inequality and increasing austerity measures being taken by governments worldwide, in a context of unprecedented corporate profit and personal wealth of the richest “1%.”

These past weeks have seen the destruction of the Occupy Wall St., Boston, Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, and most recently Tucson camps, among others. Now the nascent Occupy movement faces one of its strongest tests. (more…)

Rebuilding the Commons

October 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper

Principles and Practices for Reinvigorating Shared Spaces

by Jay Walljasper

Elinor Ostrom shared the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009 for her lifetime of scholarly work investigating how communities succeed or fail at managing common pool (finite) resources such as grazing land, forests and irrigation waters. Ostrom, a political scientist at Indiana University, received the Nobel Prize for her research proving the importance of the commons around the world. Her work investigating how communities co-operate to share resources drives to the heart of debates today about resource use, the public sphere, and the future of the planet. She is the first woman to be awarded the Nobel in Economics. (more…)

La Lucha por la Sierra

May 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy

On the ‘Continuous, Open, and Notorious Use’ of the Commons

by Devon G. Peña

Between 2002 and 2003, in a remarkable and much discussed series of three decisions, the Colorado Supreme Court restored the historic use rights of the plaintiffs in the Lobato v. Taylor land rights case. The legendary case involves plaintiffs’ use rights on 80,000 acres of common lands in the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant (merced). This is an alterNative paradigm unfolding right before our eyes…

The grant encompasses a total of 1 million acres and most of the 1843 merced was enclosed by private owners including the portion at stake in the Rael-Lobato trilogy; on the New Mexico side of the grant, some of the land ended up in the public domain as part of the Kit Carson National Forest (including portions of the Valle Vidal) but local heirs successfully re-acquired title to more than 30,000 acres as part of what is today known as the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA) lands. (more…)

Future Imperfect

May 24, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

Balancing Rampant Individualism with Mutual Aid

by Jay Walljasper

From the Fox-Wolf-Jackal Network
26 May 2035 1:15:29 p.m.

CATO, TX (USA) — Libertarians, with their revulsion of government and worship of greedy individualism, dominated politics in the U.S. from the 1980s until the second decade of the 21st century.

Their mission was to dismantle nearly all government programs outside of the military, law enforcement, corporate subsidies, and highway building. They deemed the public sector outmoded and dangerous — a threat to our economic liberties and future prosperity. (more…)

How to Spark a Commons Revolution

May 07, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Family, Jay Walljasper

What You Can Do to Make a Better World

by Jay Walljasper

E.F. Schumacher (author of Small is Beautiful) gave us some good advice about how to restore the commons when he said, “Perhaps we cannot raise the wind. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.” Even in these tough times, the breeze of change is beginning to blow.

The following is a handy list of ways you can raise the sail in your own community and life, reprinted from the new book published by On the Commons, All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons. These simple suggestions are offered to encourage you to find more of your own ideas, and to implement them in your lives and communities.

Personal Life

1. Challenge the prevailing myth that all problems have private, individualized solutions.

2. Notice how many of life’s pleasures exist outside the marketplace— gardening, fishing, conversing, playing music, playing ball, making love, enjoying nature and more. (more…)

Happiness is a Warm Neighborhood

April 14, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Family, Jay Walljasper

Designing Our Communities on ‘Common Ground’

by Jay Walljasper

Biology is destiny, declared Sigmund Freud. But if Freud were around today, he might say “design is destiny” — especially after taking a stroll through most American cities.

The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives.  Neighborhoods built without sidewalks, for instance, mean that people walk less and therefore experience fewer spontaneous encounters, which is what instills a spirit of community to a place. That’s a chief cause of the social isolation so rampant in the modern world that contributes to depression, distrust, and other maladies.

You don’t have to be a therapist to realize all this creates lasting psychological effects. It thwarts the connections between people that encourage us to congregate, cooperate, and work for the common good. We retreat into ever more privatized existences. (more…)

Whose Streets?

March 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

A Battle Rages Over Bikes and Pedestrians in New York City

by Jay Walljasper

A controversy over the commons has erupted in the streets of New York. At issue are the streets themselves, which in principle belong to everyone. But some New York drivers don’t want to start sharing them with pedestrians and bikes.

New York is America’s least auto-dependent city — more than half of all households do not even own a car (75 percent don’t in Manhattan). And the city is nearly flat as a pancake.

So New York ought to be a paradise for biking and walking. Well, except for the traffic, which is world-famous for being treacherous. Yet over the past four years, the city’s death rate from traffic accidents has dropped to its lowest level since cars invaded the streets a century ago — and that includes the lives of motorists as well as bike riders and pedestrians. (more…)