The recent austerity measures currently adopted in numerous European countries assume that a rise in public debt should automatically result in cuts to social programmes and the privatisation of "inefficiently" managed resources. This type of reasoning is being used to justify the destruction of social rights of citizens for the profit of the private sector, resulting in more limited access to the most fundamental resources such as water, nature, housing, culture, knowledge and information, mainly for the most vulnerable members of society.
Such a view, informed solely by short-term growth and profit cycles, is endangering access to those resources not only for current generations but for future ones as well.
This book is an attempt to go beyond liberal approaches to intergenerational and distributive justice. It emphasises the role of commons and communities of the commons, driven by the desire to defend and perpetuate those fundamental resources under the threat of expropriation by the state and the market.
This book also offers policy makers and citizens, who wish to accept their political responsibility by being active and refusing corporate ideology, some best practices as well as methods and solutions for renewing the configurations of societal relationships through commons, thereby integrating the interests of future generations in the European Community's decision-making processes and institutions.
This is a contribution by the Council of Europe and the International University College of Turin to the protection of the dignity of every person, especially of those who, even though unable to enjoy existing social rights, have the right to benefit from choices and policies that ensure that human life remains unspoiled.