Reclaiming the Commons


Most Americans do not realize that they collectively own many of our nation's most valuable resources -- public assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Yet too many common assets are not managed in the public's best interest. It could be called the enclosure of the American commons -- the private appropriation of public forests, minerals, electromagnetic spectrum, government research and information, civic spaces and dozens of other assets owned by the American people. These practices encourage overuse, deprive taxpayers of significant new sources of revenue, and often erode democratic processes and shared cultural values.

The New America Foundation presents a half-day conference that examines the privatization and commercialization of public assets. At the event, New America will release a new report -- Public Assets, Private Profits: Reclaiming the American Commons in an Age of Market Enclosure, by David Bollier -- and present panels addressing current policy issues related to the commons of nature, information, science and culture.


National Press Club
529 14th St. NW 13th Floor
Washington, DC
See map: Google Maps


  • James Boyle
    Professor of Law at the Duke Law School

  • Julie E Cohen
    Associate Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center

  • Michael Calabrese
    Vice President and Co-Director, Retirement Security Program, New America Foundation

  • Brian Kahin
    Director of the Center for Information Policy and Visiting Professor at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland

  • James Love
    Director of the Consumer Project on Technology

  • Jennifer Washburn
    Fellow, New America Foundation

  • Jonathan Rowe
    Fellow, Tomales Bay Institute in California

  • Anna Aurilio
    Legislative Director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group

  • Brian Dabson
    President of the Corporation for Enterprise Development

  • John Echeverria
    Adjunct Professor of Law and Director, Environmental Policy Project at Georgetown University Law Center