Must we choose between the benefits of cooperative use of scarce resources and our liberal commitments to autonomy and exit? No. Law can mediate community and liberty ? a theory of the liberal commons provides the bridge that reconciles these two seemingly contradictory imperatives. Liberal commons institutions enable a limited group of people to capture the economic and social benefits from cooperation, while also ensuring autonomy to individuals through a secure right to exit. This Article shows how current theories obscure the most salient tradeoffs in managing commons resources; details the liberal commons model comprising the decision-making spheres of individual dominion, democratic self-governance, and cooperation-enhancing exit; and presents a case study on declining black landownership that illustrates the power of our approach.
Hanoch Dagan & Michael Heller,
The Liberal Commons,
Yale Law Journal, Vol. 110, 2001
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/1227