The Universal Commons

Recently, I have been digging deeper in the issue of property and ecology. As follow-up to my recent posts on Earth ownership and customary law, I received further inspiration from Karen Bradshaw’s book on 'Wildlife as Property Owners'. She argues that wildlife should be granted full property rights on their habitat. This is a complex …

The Great Trouble

For a German, Putin’s attack of the Ukraine and the atrocities committed against its people, which aim at annihilating its statehood, evokes bitter memories of 1939. Putin’s strategy of escalation will ultimately force the free world to stop him, unless brave Russians could topple him from power. Yet, this will take time. Understandably, NATO cannot …

Lessons of Customary Law for a Geocentric Legal Transformation

Hegel famously called institutions the ‚second nature’. Indeed, in modern societies, our relationship with the ‘first nature’ is deeply shaped by institutions that govern our interactions. In fact, what is ‘nature’ is not given, but is an institutional construct itself. Therefore, if we want to heal our broken relationship with the biosphere, we must change …

Who owns the Earth?

In the literature on global justice, we find the position that the Earth is commonly owned by humankind (advocated by Matthias Risse, for example). Although this smacks of biblical hegemony of ‘man’ over the rest of the biosphere, the protagonists claim that this can be reconciled with eco-centric views, although there are limitations: Human basic …

The Moral Economy of Growth and Markets: Chinese Narratives over two Millenia

The history of economic thought is written in a deeply Western-centric view. I recently consulted a volume of contributions to monetary theory before Adam Smith that only included European authors. But the first exposition of a theory of money and prices can be found in the Chinese text ‘Guanzi’ which combines different sources across five …

The Idea of ‘Co-evolutionary Technology’

Recently I collaborated with my Finnish colleagues Katriina Soini and Juha Hiedanpäa on fleshing out the idea of ‘co-evolutionary technology’. This builds on my earlier blogposts on technosystem services and nature-based solutions. Our launchpad is the critique of nature-based solutions, which are increasingly propagated as a panacea to meeting the problems of our times, especially …

Beyond ‘Nature-based Solutions’: The Concept of Co-creative Technology

A new journal has been launched: ‘Nature Based Solutions’. This raises the stakes for a concept that originally had no scientific status but emerged as a policy formula, similar to the earlier notion of ‘ecosystem services’. Ecological economics features many newly coined expressions that straddle the scientific and the policy communities, mainly because there is …

The need for emancipating ourselves from the work ethic of the Technosphere

Recently, I read the book The Birth of Energy. Fossil Fuels, Thermodynamics, Energy & the Politics of Work by Cara New Daggett. This is a fascinating analysis of the role of thermodynamics as a worldview in the 19th century colonial and imperial expansion of capitalism. The linkage between science and ideology runs via Protestantism, with …