Global Changes pp 111-119 | Cite as

Sustainability and the Future of the Commons. An Epistemological Examination

  • Gonzalo SalazarEmail author
  • Nicolás Cerna
Part of the Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment book series (ETHICSSCI, volume 46)


The current ecological crisis and its most obvious planetary expression, climate change, represents true limitations to current ways of life, especially regarding the management of so-called common goods. This implies a critical revision of the philosophical basis that sustains current socio-ecological dynamics. First of all, this article enquires into modern “anti-commons” philosophy: the “possessive individualism” of processes for the cordoning off and privatization of common goods. Secondly, collective sustainability actions are critically reviewed. Such actions are considered to have veered in one way or another from their original intentions, due mainly to paradigmatic limitations stemming from the modern “anti-commons” agenda. Finally, a reflexive analysis is made in order to progress towards a pro-commons sustainability agenda in order to: (1) make effective fulfillment of global sustainability agreements obligatory; and (2) valuate and promote institutions of collective action for government of the commons on a local scale.


Tragedy of the commons Sustainability Urbanism Common goods 



This manuscript was supported by CONICYT Research Project Fondecyt Regular N1181575; by Centro de Desarrollo Urbano Sustentable (CONICYT, FONDAP No 15110020); by Centro de Estudios Interculturales e Indıgenas (CONICYT, FONDAP No 15110006) and by Research Project VRI Interdisciplina UC No II160035.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Urban and Territorial Studies & Campus Villarrica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Center for Local Development, Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileVillarricaChile

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