David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and independent scholar who writes about the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. He is co-founder of the Commons Strategies Group, a consulting project that assists the international commons movement; and co-director of the Commons Law Project, which is seeking to regenerate the legal traditions for protecting the commons. Bollier is also Editor at the Institute for Data-Driven Design, ID3, a Boston-based research nonprofit that is helping design new digital institutions to let people assert greater control over their data, online identities and authentication.
Bollier in 2001 co-founded Public Knowledge, a Washington advocacy organization for the public's stake in the Internet, telecom and copyright policy. From 1985 to 2010, Bollier collaborated with television producer/writer Norman Lear in a variety of non-television related public affairs and political projects. He has been a Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism since 2002.
Silke Helfrich (Jena, Germany) has studied romance languages and pedagogy at the Karl-Marx-University in Leipzig. Since mid of the 1990s activities in the field of development politics, from 1996 to 1998 head of Heinrich Böll Foundation Thuringia and from 1999 to 2007 head of the regional office of Heinrich Böll Foundation in San Salvador and Mexico City for Mexico/Central America/Cuba, focusing on globalisation, gender and human rights.
Since 2007 she works as independent author, activist and scholar, with a variety of international and domestic partners. Helfrich is the editor and co-author of several books on the Commons, among them: Who Owns the World? The Rediscovery of the Commons, Munich 2009 (in Spanish: Genes, Bytes y Emisiones. Bienes Comunes y Ciudadania, Mexico-City 2008), editor of Elinor Ostrom: Was mehr wird, wenn wir teilen, Munich 2011. With Heinrich-Böll-Foundation: Commons. Für eine neue Politik jenseits von Markt und Staat, Bielefeld 2012 (together with David Bollier: The Wealth of the Commons beyond Market and State, Amherst/MA, 2012) and most recently with David Bollier and Heinrich-Böll-Foundation: Die Welt der Commons. Muster Gemeinsamen Handelns, 2015 (engl: The Patterns of Commoning, Amherst/MA). She is cofounder of Commons Strategies Group and the Commons-Institut e.V. and the primary author of the German speaking CommonsBlog."
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.
Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 editionThe original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.
With graceful prose and dozens of fascinating stories, David Bollier describes the quiet revolution that is pioneering practical forms of self-governance and production controlled by people themselves. Think Like a Commoner explains how the commons:Is an exploding field of DIY innovation ranging from Wikipedia and seed-sharing to community forests, collaborative consumption, and beyond Challenges the standard narrative of market economics by explaining how cooperation generates significant value and human fulfillment Provides a framework of law and social action that can help us move beyond the pathologies of neoliberal capitalism
We have a choice: ignore the commons and suffer the ongoing private plunder of our common wealth, or Think Like a Commoner and learn how to rebuild our society and reclaim our shared inheritance. This accessible, comprehensive introduction to the commons will surprise and enlighten you, and provoke you to action.
David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger, and independent scholar. He is the author of six books on different aspects of the commons, including Green Governance, The Wealth of the Commons, and Viral Spiral, and is a frequent speaker at conferences, colleges and universities, and policy workshops.