Common Good Collective

Reader

This Reader is an expression of Common Good Collective, a vision for an alternative way, rooted in the act of eliminating economic isolation, the significance of place, and the structure of belonging. Whether you come at this from a place of economics, social good, or faith, we hope these reflections help orient your day in fresh, provocative, courageous ways. And most importantly, we hope these lead you into the sharing of gifts in particular communities—into co-creating a common good.

We read hundreds of articles and select the best ones for you by sending them to your inbox on Thursday.
Read Now Subscribe Now

Corn Tastes Better on the Honor System

This incredible and thoughtful piece written by Robin Wall Kimmerer, the author of Braiding Sweetgrass, juxtaposes native cultures’ relationship with maize and the current industrialization of corn. Much of the difference lies in the treatment of the land as commons and not commodity. To experience this story with visuals and an audio reading by Kimmerer, visit the original publication on Emergence Magazine.

Corn Tastes Better on the Honor System
By Robin Wall Kimmerer

I remember. How their songs drew us up through the warming earth just for the joy of hearing them. How we stretched in the sun and turned air into sugar, my sisters and I, leaves and roots entwined. It’s lonely without them. Grandfather Teosinte has been gone for so long; where is that gentle guidance when we need it most? And our good people—with toes and hoes in the soil, fulfilling the agreement made so long ago? What happened to the songs we knew? I remember how they celebrated my beautiful children with feasting and honor and passed them hand to hand in thanksgiving. I remember when they knew my name. The people have forgotten, but the seed remembers.

Read more

Share with a friend

“Constancy”

Russian poet Joseph Brodsky says, “Evolution is not a species’/ adjustment to a new environment but one’s memories’/ triumph over reality…” As you read his poem below, meditate on whether the many connotations of “triumph” and the impact of our evolution on our collective earthly home.

Constancy
By Joseph Brodsky

Constancy is an evolution of one’s living quarters into
a thought: a continuation of a parallelogram or a rectangle
by means—as Clausewitz would have put it—
of the voice and, ultimately, the gray matter.

Read more

Share with a friend

Who owns the earth?

Here’s a breath of fresh air: Preservation of the commons has not been completely forgotten. In contrast to the continual drive for profit, the commons – systems of common ownership of the most essential parts of our lives, especially land – have been returning to a few countries around the world. They rely on precisely what is needed to reduce economic isolation and restore our interdependence: rely on local knowledge, resist turning everything into profit, cultivate affection for places and people and plants and animals.

Who owns the earth?
by Antonia Malchik

My mother likes to say she was born out of the back of a ’39 Ford. She wasn’t, actually. She was born in a hospital in Chicago. But less than a year later she and her parents returned to the Montana ranch that her family had homesteaded in the early 1900s, and where they still lived. That is where my mother counts her birth, when she got out of the back of that ’39 Ford and came home to the prairie, full of meadowlarks and fragrant soil and a big golden willow. ‘I count how God and nature do things,’ she says of her birth. ‘People have a home, and they know when they get there.’

Read more

Share with a friend

How Much Land Does a Man Need

New Yorker contributor Rachel Hurn reviews the new English edition of Leo Tolstoy’s challenging work, “How Much Land Does A Man Need.” The riddle is grim, yet true. True value does, indeed, lie in the commons. Ownership is a dead-end.

How Much Land Does a Man Need
By Rachel Hurn

Bryan Patrick Miller, the editor of Calypso Editions, which has just brought out a new English translation of Leo Tolstoy’s “How Much Land Does a Man Need,” welcomed us to the bi-monthly poetry reading at Pacific Standard Bar, in Brooklyn, by quoting James Joyce. “Land,” Joyce said, “is the greatest story that the literature of the world knows.”

Read more

Share with a friend