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Commoning for an Ecologically Sustainable and Solidarity-based Society

The paper “Commoning for an ecologically sustainable and solidarity-based society” by Orsolya Lazányi and Tamás Veress was published in Hungarian in Fordulat (Vol. 27, 2020, No. 1).

In their paper the authors argue that the commons is of central importance when the ethical qualities of economic interactions are concerned. A commons is contained by a community governing the activities sustaining the collective wealth, and the resource underneath the collective wealth. One key factor distinguishing the commons from mainstream corporate enterprises (which dominate the modern economic landscape) is their embededdness into the locality. While commons members are at the same time producers and consumers of the common wealth, and generally interested in the longterm health of the resource under collective governance, corporate enterprises tend to focus on short-term material gains and often disregard the regenerative capacity of the resources and the stakeholders.

The paper contrasts the logics of market exchange with the logic of reciprocity of the commons. The contrastive example of Airbnb and Fairbnb illustrates the radically different social and environmental features of the underlying business models. Airbnb causes housing crises world-wide by its exploitative operations, while Fairbnb is designed to allow accommodation providers earning a decent income and help local communities through redistributive mechanisms.

The paper has served as a background material for the “Lies of the sharing economy” movie that has been seen by more than 50 000 viewers. It also supported the “STOP Airbnb” community campaign calling for fair housing conditions in Budapest.