Are open roads ‘open access Commons?


roads commoningThis follows my last blog a week ago when a motorist personalised a one way road which resulted in congestion, time loss etc. Today I am looking at whether highway roads are open access, if so why and how. 

Highway roads , street roads and sidewalks in most free market economies have turned to managed as open-access commons. To answer some of the questions on this subject requires a broad spectrum of analogy such resoponses will also help to answer issues on databases access for public domain such as the U.S.and elsewhere to Europe’s copyright-like regimes. I wonder if those responses will help on the new generation WiFi spectrum commons strategies in the construction of the globalised computing environment.Nevertheless, it all points to the interesting discussion on: should all these be under the spectrum of property-like models? These designed institutional questions calls for our greater understanding of the  role commons play in contemporary market economies.


Back to the highway, since our understanding of the umbrella term “the commons,” Refers to quite different classes of problems and solutions. It is imperetive to perhaps to away with the grand unified theory of commons, (But) maybe there is. This draws the theoretical platform of contemporary understanding of the commons needs to deal with two distinct paradigm cases that mark our understanding of commons. For instance, the symbolic implications of the pastures and irrigation districts pioneered by Ostrom against the highways, sidewalks, streets and  as well traditional aspects of the undisputed public domain such as the manifest of copyright term limitations or perhaps the inevitability of inventive step or unavoidability of patents. It appears non of these theoretical  is inexcludable. While, Massimo and Alicante appear to position water in scrip market with divisible and tradeable rights, highways and the public domain in knowledge, information, and culture, is the challenge of any comprehensive theory of the commons.


Lets say, there was no state-based institutional design for sustainable governance of resources on such a motorist who left the car blocking the one way road. To which defined set of claimants of fellow motorists who are part of the highway road  as members of a patent pool would lay claim in such a common. Which gives the impression that enclosures from government on larger scale utilization are unavoidable than would be efficient in small, community owned roads. But the fact that there is state intervetion through doctrines of ‘property system’ excludes it from being a “commons”. Can we say that, No. Just because the primary policy implications in such management of resources, sometimes introducing a government management policy will undermine a well-functioning, collectively-created system better tailored to local conditions than a standardized institutional framework could.

Open access commons are almost never meant to be lawlessness or anarchy. The concept is :freedom-to-operate under symmetric constraints, available to an open, or undefined, class of users. Rules of the road on the open highway are the most basic instance.They are marked by an absence of asymmetric power to determine disposition of the resource. Experiments to institute minimal pricing systems, such as pay access to HOV lanes, or congestion pricing, are exceptions but not the rules, and  available on nondiscriminatory, fixed terms to anyone, more like common carriage than a spot market in roadway capacity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: