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article abstract

October 18, 2010

here is an abstract I submitted for an articlein a magazine being put out by a few friends of mine. I dont know if it was accepted, but I’ll post it here. If its not accepted, I’ll just put the article on here. Please dont be too hard on it, it is just to  be a preview of something larger Iam planning.

In our current society the rights of individuals are given primacy over the rights of communities. The individualist rights, such as property rights can clash with communal rights in several areas, particularly over what ‘the commons’ shall be, and how it shall be used. Instead of privileging individual rights, a focus on social interactions where the community is elevated will solve problems associated with the tragedy of the commons and give a different perspective on the rights individuals will hold.

Two different ways to observe this shifted perspective is in  the field of water rights. Great amounts of water from the Athabasca River is taken for the private production of oil, where very little is given back to the community. The people are relieved of the resources of their communities for the individual profit of only a few. This same exploitation of what should be considered common property is the Mackenzie River Basin, which flows through the Northwest Territories, Alberta, and British Columbia. If these resources are to be developed they should be done so in the name of the people, and be a crown corporation.

The privileging of the commons over the individual will also give us a firm ground in which to make the first steps in confronting global climate change. Canada is set to benefit in some ways from global warming, but as a part of the world should still do its part. The rights of individuals to pollute or consume resources should be balanced by the cost to the community.

Focusing on the commons will enable our society to offer solutions to very tricky issues like water rights, or global climate change, which had no obvious solution.  A communal focus offers a way to solve these dilemmas without having too great a cost.

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