Owning and Owing – Why we need to change the nature of ownership

A review of Majorie Kelly’s ground-breaking book on new property forms, by Ed Mayo:

Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution

by Marjorie Kelly

“Uplifted by reading Kelly’s book, I turned back to reread the classic UK work on stewardship, from 1987, The Just Enterprise by the late George Goyder.

Goyder wrote: “it is worth pausing to consider for a moment the underlying meaning of the word ‘own’. If I own a house, that means I have a right to live in it or dispose of it. But the word used for possession from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century was not ‘own’ but ‘owe’. Before me as I write lies a manuscript copy of John Wycliffe’s New Testament. At the side of the page is written ‘John Shaw oweth this book.’ (Sir John Shaw was Lord Mayor of London in 1501.) Many similar illustrations could be given of the fact that ownership was originally ‘owership’.””

“Ownership, in Kelly’s words, is the “gravitational field that holds our economy in its orbit, locking us all into behaviors that lead to financial excess and ecological overshoot”. Why does it do this? Because ownership, in conventional terms, is about control.

The business of business is about bringing different parties together to create value. It is ownership that defines who has ultimate control over the process and the residual benefit that accrues.

In today’s economy, so much ownership is vested in the hands of distant speculators and investors that it is in their interests that decisions are made, even if what results is a destruction of the fabric of society, wealth and life. You can try to persuade investors and their markets to change their behaviour – the honourable pursuit of corporate social responsibility – or you can try to change the nature of ownership.”

Read the original article by Ed Mayo in full – http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article3929-owning-and-owing.html

The authors website – http://www.marjoriekelly.com/books/owning-our-future/

1 Comment Owning and Owing – Why we need to change the nature of ownership

  1. Avatareimhin

    Own used to be ‘owen’, as in something owed and this was the duty of stewardship.
    Just like self interest translates to self inter esse – Self Between Being(s)
    Folk need to wise up, we already knew this stuff, we know it in our common heart, just forget it in our hubris.

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