What people are saying...

  • Peter Barnes has opened the dialogue of the 21st century. He takes the traditional concept of the commons and marries it to the institutions of modern capitalism. In so doing he exposes those who take from the commons without paying, then make the rest of us buy back what we already own.

    Carl Pope, executive director, Sierra Club

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Our current version of capitalism—the corporate, globalized version 2.0—is rapidly squandering our shared inheritances. Now, Peter Barnes offers a solution: protect the commons by giving it property rights and strong institutional managers.

Barnes shows how capitalism—like a computer—is run by an operating system. Our current operating system gives too much power to profit-maximizing corporations that devour our commons and distribute most of their profit to a sliver of the population. And government—which in theory should defend our commons—is all too often a tool of those very corporations.

Barnes proposes a revised operating system—Capitalism 3.0—that protects the commons while preserving the many strengths of capitalism as we know it. His major innovation is the commons trust—a market-based entity with the power to limit use of scarce commons, charge rent, and pay dividends to everyone.

Capitalism 3.0 offers a practical alternative to our current flawed economic system. It points the way to a future in which we can retain capitalism's virtues while mitigating its vices.