Planet Earth is mostly blue - 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the sea, which provides half of the oxygen we breathe and threequarters of all life on Earth. But who owns the sea?
About 40% of the world’s population lives in coastal communities and depends on ocean resources. They are in trouble. Since the twentieth century governments and corporations around the world, often corruptly, have pushed a fatally flawed maxim of ‘blue growth’, destroying fish populations and plundering vital ocean ecosystems.
The sea has been extensively enclosed for private gain, generating multiple inequalities. A system of rentier capitalism now dominates the marine economy, based on privatization, rapacious financial capital and a remorseless drive for profit over people and ecosystems.
The Blue Commons peels back the veil of the boundless exploitation and inherent criminality in the ocean economy. Written by an economist responsible for much of our contemporary understanding of inequality and possible solutions, this book not only reveals the scale of the challenge but points to a transformative alternative: building a blue commons, dismantling rentier capitalism and prioritizing the world’s commoners and the health of our oceans.