July 5, 2023

#30 - Imagining the Commons with Brendan Johnson

#30 - Imagining the Commons with Brendan Johnson

If God calls us to seek the common good of our communities—what does that mean in real life? The commons, a shared community place or resource, is a critical idea in this conversation. Even better: it’s not just an idea; it’s been practiced around the globe in many times and places. David Frank talks with friend and fellow housemate Brendan Johnson about the ways we could start thinking differently—really differently—about our public, private, and shared resources.

Our goal is to inspire you to imagine new ways of flourishing and to open the conversation further. Shoot us a message with any comments, questions, or critiques. There’s so much around this topic left to discuss!



(1:21) What is “the commons”?

(5:47) Commons vs., say, a public park

(14:24) Seeking the common good in common life

(18:59) Rights to common air, water vs. privatization

(24:50) Who are “the commoners”?

(30:22) Example of 3M and the (failure of) water commons

(35:53) The tragedy of the commons

(39:17) “Beating the bounds”

(42:47) Healthcare and the mental commons

(45:23) Joy and the desire to contribute

(50:15) What it means to be human

(53:06) The commons of communion

(57:23) What we can do now


Links and References

Our Guest Today is D. Brendan Johnson: https://linktr.ee/dbrendanjohnson

"A Short History of Enclosure in Britain" by Simon Fairlie (The Land, 2009; link to publisher)

Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher (1973, link to publisher)

Christ and the Common Life by Luke Bretherton (2019, link to publisher)

“The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin (Science, 1968; link to JStor)

Governing the Commons by Elinor Ostrom (1990, link to publisher)

Podcast: "Frontiers of Commoning with David Bollier" https://david-bollier.simplecast.com/

Free, Fair, and Alive by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich https://freefairandalive.org/

Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi https://cooperationjackson.org/

Mondragon Corporation in Spain https://www.mondragon-corporation.com/en/


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Creators and Hosts: David Frank, TJ Espinoza

Audio Engineer: Carl Swenson (www.carlswensonmusic.com)

Podcast Manager: Elena