Chapter 6: Conclusion
Privatization of the commons may prevent an overuse in resources, but it may also inadvertently spark an underuse of resources, or the tragedy of the anticommons. The intellectual-commons environment is an evolving system of production, storage, distribution, and use of information, knowledge, and other types of intellectual commons. This environment operates according to some specified degree of openness, which distinguishes commons from proprietary rights. NPOs studied in this book have formed an unprecedented ecosystem that makes various commons-related activities possible. Without NPOs, the commons environment might be much less vigorous than it now is. Currently-prevailing NPO theories aid our understanding of NPOs’ role and behavior in the commons environment. Nevertheless, neither contract failure theory nor government and market failure theory provides a complete picture of NPOs’ role in the commons realm. Given the diversity of various NPOs, a theory about one type of NPOs does not translate easily to other types. Therefore, these theories may be regarded, to a large extent, as complementary rather than mutually exclusive, efforts to understand a heterogeneous sector operating in diverse economies.
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