The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately (International Journal of the Commons).

While some argue that commons don't work due to human nature, economists such as Nobel-prize winner Elinor Ostrom showed that many examples of working commons exist. For example, Ostrom found that grazing commons in the Swiss Alps have been run successfully for many hundreds of years by the farmers there.

Over time, the commons have appeared been referenced in various contexts by Thomas Moore and Thomas Paine.