Mathew Lawrence and Adrienne BullerAug 23, 2022
Owning the Future
Power and Property in an Age of Crisis
Verso Books 2022
Adrienne Buller (The Value of a Whale) and Mathew Lawrence (Planet on Fire) have penned a radical manifesto for the transformation of post-pandemic politics: Owning the Future: Power and Property in an Age of Crisis (Verso, 2022).
The question of ownership is the critical fault line of our times. During the pandemic this issue has only become more divisive. Since March 2020 we have witnessed the extraordinary growth of asset manager capitalism and the explosive concentration of wealth within the hands of the already super-rich. This new oligarchy controls every part of our social and economics lives. In the face of crisis, the authors warn that mere redistribution within current forms of ownership is not enough; our goal must be to go beyond the limits of the current system, dominated by private enclosure and unequal ownership. Only by reimagining how our economy is owned and by whom can we address the crises of our time - from the fallout of the pandemic to ecological collapse - at their roots. Building from this insight, the authors argue the systemic change we need hinges on a new era of democratic ownership: a reinvention of the firm as a vehicle for collective endeavour and meeting social needs. Against the new oligarchy of the platform giants, a digital commons that uses our data for collective good, not private profit. In place of environmental devastation, a new agenda of decommodification - of both nature and needs - with a Green New Deal and collective stewardship of the planet’s natural wealth. Together, these proposals offer a road map to owning the future, and building a better world.
Adrienne Buller is Director of Research at the UK-based think tank Common Wealth.
Mathew Lawrence is Common Wealth's founder and director.