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Ownership futures

Democratic public ownership panel
  • Ownership futures
May 18, 2020

Ownership futures

Public ownership of railways and road networks, land and natural resources, water and electricity utilities, and banking and postal services helped build the infrastructure, institutions, and technologies of the mid-20th century. Today, public ownership once again has a key role to play in laying the foundations for a transformative and prosperous 21st-century economy.

However, if the 21st century is to be one of genuinely shared prosperity that is democratic and sustainable by design, new, more democratic models of public ownership will be needed to reimagine and remake the emerging commanding heights of the next economy: digital technologies, data and infrastructure, and the natural and common resources that are critical to the continued functioning of our planet. To that end, The Democracy Collaborative and Common Wealth launched a project to explore the frontiers of public ownership in the 21st century.

This project was designed to develop policy ideas in four areas where existing structures of ownership in the UK and US amplify corporate power, erode workers’ rights, increase inequality, and accelerate the climate crisis: digital infrastructure, data and platforms, Intellectual property and research and development, and land and natural resources.

A complete set of reports, graphics, and other resources are available from Common Wealth.

COVID-19 and 21st century public ownership

COVID-19 and 21st century public ownership

COVID-19 has made the case for reimagining the ownership and governance of our economies on both sides of the Atlantic more urgent than ever. To meet the needs of the moment, an agenda to extend democratic public ownership is essential. read more

Reports

A Common Platform

A Common Platform: Reimagining data and platforms

Digital platforms have proven indispensable to how we live, work, and play. The challenge is to set principles and implement policies that liberate the democratic and enlivening potential of the platform from the logic of concentrated corporate ownership and profit maximization. read more

Reports

Democratizing knowledge

Democratizing knowledge: Transforming intellectual property and research and development

We need to embed principles of democratic ownership and control to the fields of intellectual property and research and development, so that these crucial economic pillars become drivers of equity, sustainability and the common good rather than wealth inequality and concentration. read more
Democratic public ownership panel

Ownership Futures: Towards democratic public ownership in the 21st century

The Democracy Collaborative and Common Wealth is undertaking a 2020 project to explore the frontiers of public ownership in the 21st century, particularly in the areas of digital infrastructure, data and platforms, intellectual property, and land and natural resources. The lead researchers explain the urgent need for their work. read more

Reports

Democratic digital infrastructure

Democratic digital infrastructure

We need to build a digital landscape that provides world-class connection to all and is sustainable, privacy-enhancing, rights-preserving, innovative, and democratic by design. This report makes the case for democratic public ownership of the foundational digital infrastructures of the 21st century. read more