Commons are common pool resources. Commons are common goods. Commons are social relationships. You can find all of these descriptions for the term. Which is the correct one? All three versions are valid—at the same time!
The word „common“ is the best starting point for the analysis. The common thing within a commons are the resources, which are used and cared for, are the goods resulting from joint activities, and are the social relationships emerging from acting together. These three aspects are so different for all commons, that no one could describe them in a reasonably complete manner.
Commons are at odds with commodities, although a commodity is a good which is produced in a specific social form using resources. But it is usual that traditional economics only consider resources as social forms of production in a marginal way or even not in any way. I will try to overcome this limitation by using the following taxonomy of goods [Illustration 1]. I decide to put the concept of „good“ into the center, while describing from the triple definition explained above: as a common good, as a resource and as a social form.
Illustration 1: Proposed taxonomy of „goods“