Book launch: 'Ours: The Case for Universal Property' by Peter Barnes


Event time: Thursday 15th July, 18:00 BST


Event Description:

We think our wealth today comes from productive corporations and workers, but they merely add icing to a cake baked long ago. In his provocative new book, Ours: The Case for Universal Property, Peter Barnes argues that most of today’s wealth is co-inherited from nature and past human efforts, not individually earned. If some of that co-inherited wealth were placed in trust for each of us, living and yet-to-be born – creating what Barnes calls “universal property” – capitalism would be fundamentally transformed.

Autonomy are excited to be hosting the launch of Barnes’ new book, where he’ll be joined by a panel of distinguished speakers to draw out and discuss a number of its key themes, followed by audience questions.

A Zoom URL invite will be emailed to ticket holders on the day of the event.


  • Peter Barnes is an innovative American thinker and entrepreneur whose work has focused on fixing the deep flaws of capitalism. He co-founded a worker-owned solar energy company, a socially screened mutual fund, and a progressive telephone company. His 2001 book, Who Owns The Sky? — based on the premise that the atmosphere is a commons — proposed a system of capping carbon emissions, selling emission permits and returning the revenue to everyone equally. His latest book, Ours: The Case for Universal Property, amplifies that model to cover other co-inherited assets.


  • Duncan McCann is a research affiliate with Autonomy and a senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation. His work focuses on creating a fairer and more sustainable foundation for the economy through rethinking wealth, ownership and money. It seeks to establish a twenty-first century commons that would allow everyone to share in the benefits of the modern digital economy. Duncan co-wrote Re-modelling capitalism about the potential of rethinking wealth in our economy.


  • Christine Berry is a freelance researcher and writer based in Manchester. She is a Trustee of Rethinking Economics, a Fellow of the Democracy Collaborative and a Contributing Editor of Renewal journal. Previously she was Director of Policy and Government at the New Economics Foundation. She is currently writing a book on democratic ownership as part of the answer to rentier capitalism (Verso, 2022).


  • Rahul Basu is the Research Director of Goa Foundation, an environmental non-profit in India, and a member of The Future We Need, a global movement to make intergenerational equity foundational for civilization. His current work began with improving governance in iron ore mining in Goa and has resulted in setting up the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund and recognition in India’s National Mineral Policy that minerals are a shared inheritance, held by the state in trust for the people and future generations. He is now researching the moral, legal, social and evolutionary origins of the intergenerational equity principle.