WTM Forum I: Commoning Economy

17 January 2016, 14:00–18:00 / Casco HQ

Forums start at 14:00 hrs and are free to all. However, reservations are required for organizer and contributor preparation (and yes, seating is limited too).

“The economy is something we do, and not just something that does things to us.”
– JK Gibson-Graham

There is a strong urgency to practice alternative models for economic organization beyond mere critique. These models are not based on expropriation, exploitation, and the fantasy of boundless accumulation, but are aimed at a more equal or egalitarian distribution of resources and well-being in common. And in a world seemingly dominated by exploitative economic structures, those structures that instead work toward a commoning of resources still (or already) exist in the form of what economic geographer Katherine Gibson has called “community economies.” Under the pen name JK Gibson-Graham (a collaboration between Gibson and the late Julie Graham), she has published widely on community economies, most notably in the books The End of Capitalism (As We Know It) (1996) and A Postcapitalist Politics (2006). Can community economies move from the margins where they find themselves today, and insert themselves as the general principle to replace capitalist economy? Gibson brings us into contact with concrete community economy case studies and speak to their expanding potential.

Utrecht-based research collective (Un)usual Business, which was founded as a collaboration between Casco and Kritische Studenten Utrecht (KSU) in 2013, takes Gibson-Graham’s ideas as a starting point and a reference for the research they conduct on the political potential of existing community economies in Utrecht. Not only will they present the work they have been doing, including their journal Utrecht Meent Het and How To Get Together series, but they also assess their own organizational structure and modus operandi as a possible model that goes against the grain of hegemonic economic logic.

Subsequently, philosopher and political economist Philippe Van Parijs discusses and propagates the idea of a universal basic income, of which he has been a passionate proponent for decades, since publishing his book Real Freedom for All: What (if Anything) Can Justify Capitalism? (1995). While the universal nature of this concept is seemingly at odds with the localized nature of community economies, Van Parijs  makes a strong case for its concrete feasibility. His contribution has a profound resonance with Utrecht at the moment as its city council has started experimenting with the implementation of basic income.

Finally, the floor is given to you, the participants, in this study event, in an open group discussion moderated by economic researcher and Casco board member Martijn Jeroen van der Linden.

On the day of the forum, come earlier and make your own time to read through and see the exhibition project We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning open from 12:00 hrs.

Next up: Forum II, Commoning Art Organization, Saturday, 30 January 2016 with artist Annette Krauss, art theorist Andrea Phillips, curator Nora Sternfeld, and the Casco team.

17 January 2016
Casco HQ


The Commoning Forum Series is curated by media and research coordinator at Casco Steyn Bergs and director at Casco Binna Choi, and is organized by the Casco team.

Casco’s program is made possible with financial support from City Council of Utrecht, Mondriaan Fund, DOEN Foundation, and European Union Culture Programme. We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning is also supported by K.F. Hein Fund.

This activity is part of:

An exhibition and study program to generate “tools” for practicing the commons.

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