"Sharing" is a matter of pooling the resource and allocating it without necessarily calculating everyone's individual benefit in discrete units. By contrast, "mutualization" is a more precisely qualified or quantified benefit, usually based on some predetermined formula or agreement. In the commons it is key, that these agreements are being made by those who have a stake in the resource system.
'Pool & Share' replaces 'Earn, Buy & Own'. If people 'Pool & Share', they guarantee access rights in an autonomous way. They reduce their individual costs, increase the likelihood to meet their needs better, and develop a sense of co-responsibility and social solidarity.
You can pool knowledge, resources, time, energy, food, tools, ideas or money. 'Pool & Share' works in all realms of commoning. But it is particularly powerful in open networks, where the usefulness of information, ideas, knowledge, code and design grows the more that they are shared and adapted.
However, what matters the most is the '&', because you can only share what you pool, contribute or co-produce. Pooling without sharing in the commons is like shopping without money in capitalism. Wherever people 'Pool & Share' they Decouple Giving & Taking.
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# Enabling Context
While formal legal structures are sometimes needed to enable sharing (e.g., co-operative bylaws, FLOSS licenses, Creative Commons licenses), a prior, indispensable condition is an ethic and social practices of sharing. See: Cultivating Shared Purpose & Values When the sharing is carefully parsed and calculated, we call this "mutualization," a specific form of sharing.
Pool & share is an elemental experience for human beings, ranging from sharing the bounty of hunting and gathering, to potluck dinners and, in American history, quilting bees and barn-raising among settlers on the frontier. A classic contemporary example of pool & share is open source software or Wikipedia. Contributors add to the pool of resources, and take what they want -- in this case, without diminishing the resource for anyone else, because digital code can be copied at virtually no cost.
In the case of finite, depletable resources such as land, farmers or pastoralists who use the same land for agriculture or grazing animals typically create rules for allocating use rights to the land in a fair way, and for limiting individual usage so that the land is not over-exploited. Everyone's costs are minimized while enhancing overall benefits -- so long as the shared goals and usage practices are upheld.
- Open source software communities such as GNU/Linux, Apache, Perl and Libre Office, wikis, Federated Wiki, open access journals, and other collaborative platforms that can readily share their output without jeopardizing their own survival.
- Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding campaigns.
# See also