How is ownership organized.? Who is authorized to make use of owned property?
Property rights always affect our relations with our fellow human beings, the basis of our existence and future generations. They therefore must be defined in such a way that they nurture rather than strain relationships. In a commons, it is more important to actually have use of shared wealth (possession) and care for it than to have exclusive ownership for oneself (property). Elevating use-value and relationships over the idea of *absolute ownership* helps prevent the abuse of power by property owners. Instead, participants may develop alternative legal forms of relational having (“relationalized property”) that honor the many relationships involved. Relationalized property goes beyond the exclusivity and formal legal concepts that both individual and collective ownership generally entail.
# Examples - Many community gardens have a rule regarding access to raised beds: “Use it or lose it”, as a way to respect the needs of other gardeners. - Federated Wikis are a software platform that make it easy for individuals to have their own repositories of information while enabling them to share and collaborate with others in producing knowledge – while retaining credit for individual contributions. - People who participate in the Open Source Seed Initiative agree to a pledge that lets anyone use their seeds so long as they do not impose any restrictions on how the seeds or their derivatives are later used. This rule has helped knit together a community of seed-sharers. - Members of the Slope Food Coop are “member owners” whose membership is secured in their bylaws by working a shift of 2 hours and 45 minutes at the coop once a month. This requirement, rather than a fee, helps nurture a stronger sense of affiliation with the coop and other members, and ensures that the physical needs of running the coop are met.