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Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons by Peter Barnes
Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons

CdnShadow, December 21, 2006

Rachel's Democracy & Health News #886, December 21, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: A provocative new book, Capitalism
aims to diminish the power of corporations by
establishing a new "commons sector" within the economy -- creating new institutions to form a
countervailing force.]

By Peter Montague

Books full of new ideas are rare, but here's one worth chewing on: Peter Barnes's Capitalism

The book is original, readable and provocative.
It will definitely hold your attention.

But let's get one thing straight. Despite the title of his book, Peter Barnes is no radical. He is
an entrepreneur and investor who co- founded Working Assets, the telephone company. He says, "As a
businessman and investor, I've benefited personally from the primacy of capital and am not keen to
end it." (pg. 24) On the other hand, he recognizes that, "Capitalism as we know it is devouring
creation. It's living off nature's capital and calling it growth."(pg. 26) So, "to save capitalism
from itself," (pg. 66) the book offers a whole slew of new ideas. the goal of which is to give
capitalism a "software upgrade" to fix what Barnes sees as the system's three major flaws: (1) its
disregard for nature; (2) its disregard for future generations; and (3) its disregard for the poor.

Barnes's analysis of the problem is succinct: the history of capitalism reveals two threads: the
decline of "the commons" and the rise of the corporation. These two threads are linked because
corporations make money largely by taking things from "the commons" (or dumping wastes into the
commons) without paying compensation to its owners (all of us).
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