Matt Prewitt: Lawyer, Writer, & President of RadicalxChange Foundation

Episode Summary

In today’s episode, guest host Margaret Levi interviews Matt Prewitt, President of RadicalxChange Foundation. With the tables turned from our last episode, Margaret interviews Matt on rethinking property rights. Beginning with a reflection on the state of political liberalism, Matt dives into the mechanics of Partial Common Ownership (also known as “Plural Property”) and it being part of the solution to manage assets in a fairer, more efficient way and how experimentation like PCO can lead toward a politics of change. RadicalxChange has been working with Margaret Levi and her team at Stanford, together with Dark Matter Labs, on exploring and reimagining the institutions of ownership. This episode is part of a short series exploring the theme of What and How We Own: Building a Politics of Change.

Episode Notes

In today’s episode, guest host Margaret Levi interviews Matt Prewitt, President of RadicalxChange Foundation. With the tables turned from our last episode, Margaret interviews Matt on rethinking property rights. Beginning with a reflection on the state of political liberalism, Matt dives into the mechanics of Partial Common Ownership (also known as “Plural Property”) and it being part of the solution to manage assets in a fairer, more efficient way and how experimentation like PCO can lead toward a politics of change.

RadicalxChange has been working with Margaret Levi and her team at Stanford, together with Dark Matter Labs, on exploring and reimagining the institutions of ownership.

This episode is part of a short series exploring the theme of What and How We Own: Building a Politics of Change.

Read more in our newsletter What & How We Own: The Politics of Change | Part II.

Links & References:



Matt Prewitt (he/him) is a lawyer, technologist, and writer. He is the President of the RadicalxChange Foundation.

Matt’s Social Links:

Margaret Levi is Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL) at the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) at Stanford University.

Margaret’s Social Links:

Additional Credits:

This is a RadicalxChange Production.

Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Matt Prewitt: Okay.

[00:00:01] Margaret Levi: It's really a delight Matt Prewitt, to have this conversation with you. and, talk a little bit about this very interesting idea of partial common ownership and where it comes from.

So what I'd like to do is really start before we get to partial common ownership to understand what it's embedded in what's the larger set of issues that are raised for you and that partial common ownership is partially a solution. So I know that there are a couple of concerns that, as we've talked about these issues over time, are very that you feel one is that there is a problem with liberalism, as we currently construe it.

And another is your desire to achieve legitimacy in any kind of new institutional arrangement or problem [00:01:00] solving that you engage in. So I'd like to spend a little time first, just parsing out some of those ideas, what you mean by liberalism, how that affects the property regime, what accounts for legitimacy, and then we can delve more deeply into partial common ownership itself.

Why don't we start with liberalism and maybe you could tell me a little more about what you mean by that term where you see the problems lying, and we can go from there.

[00:01:33] Matt Prewitt: Sure, so I think that the place I'm coming from here is that I take a lot of the critiques of liberalism quite seriously.

I think that there are, pretty powerful arguments out there that, that kind of demand a, a response from, people committed [00:02:00] to some sort of notion of, liberal politics and, and to me, the analysis of property rights and our conceptions of ownership are an important part of that.

So that's how the pieces fit together for me. Now one point to make is that, just on the topic of liberalism. I, even though I take a lot of these critiques of liberalism quite seriously, I also feel, concerned that many of the, proposed alternatives to liberalism are either underbaked or utopian or dangerous or something like that.[00:03:00]

And, to be clear, I actually think I do want to be clear that I sometimes think it's unfair to push back against the critiques of liberalism by saying that the alternatives are dangerous. I don't think that's always a fair way of tarring the alternatives.

Nonetheless, there's some truth to it. and, what I, and I basically, I, remain committed to something that. That, I think fits into the rubric of liberalism in an important sense, and I don't,

[00:03:36] Margaret Levi: Can I push you for a minute? Because I'm still unclear what you mean by liberalism. as it's a term that gets used by all sides in our current contemporary political debates, almost claims to be a liberal, either in the classical sense, which is the Adam Smith-ian sense of being a liberal, [00:04:00] Or as it's been understood by the neoclassicists and the neoliberals, or they, or it's used as a sort of term for the progressives, right?

So what do you mean? And when you say you're a liberal, what are you telling us? Or when you say you're against it, you're critiquing liberalism, what are you critiquing?

[00:04:20] Matt Prewitt: So I think that the. So it's first important to distinguish, as you're suggesting, these kinds of parochial usages of liberalism.

I don't just mean progressivism in the American sense. I don't mean like the term “liberal” in European politics often means pro-market or something, right? These are not the usages of liberalism that I have in mind. to me, the core of the concept of liberalism. Has to do with the, the, [00:05:00] constraint of power.

Basically, it has to do with the idea that we want a certain relationship between authority and between the parties that are subject to the authority. I, I look to a couple of principles that Ronald Dworkin laid out as a pretty good guide to, the core of the concept of liberalism and the philosopher, Ronald Dworkin, the legal philosopher.

He gives 22 principles, as a core of liberalism, which are both directed at, the sort of the problem of, legitimate use of coercive force by a government against its citizens. and the first principle, so I'll lay them out briefly. [00:06:00] And then we can talk about them more.

I actually don't fully sign on to both of them. I think it's a great place to start. The first principle is that coercive power is illegitimate. If it is not, motivated, if it is not, guided by basically equal concern for all of the persons that are subject to the power.

So this sort of criterion of equality or equal concern and then the second principle is the idea that. coercive power is illegitimate unless it respects the right and responsibility of every individual to decide, for themselves, what would count as success, what would count as a good life, what would count as the good to me.

These two principles, which both have to do with [00:07:00] the kind of, with constraining the exercise of coercive government power are the, are really the. The core of it and these ideas, are more abstract, and they cover most of the different sort of particular conceptions of liberalism that people talk about.

[00:07:21] Margaret Levi: Great. Okay. So what is your critique of liberalism then and how does property fit into that?

[00:07:31] Matt Prewitt: So I think that liberalism, I'm not sure if it's a critique of liberalism or if it's critique of a misconstrual of liberalism. But basically, basically, I worry about how liberalism has been applied in practice.

Because I, I [00:08:00] think that many governments and many societies that consider themselves liberal have excessively relied on a few different kinds of institutions to instantiate their commitment to liberalism. And one of the most important of those institutions is the institution of property.

So the idea of private property kind of seems. to express these two principles because it has this sort of quality of neutrality, right? It has this, quality of, property rights themselves, it's easy to make them formally. apply equally to everyone in a polity, and, property rights themselves also seem to not put their thumb on the scale of, of any particular conception of the good, and you can make a similar statement.

[00:09:00] I think about other sorts of economic institutions, such as, such as money, right? Money also seems to have this kind of neutrality, this kind of, quality of not respecting or favoring some groups over others and not embodying any particular conception of the good. And therefore, I think that, many, many thinkers who thought of themselves as liberal have understood these economic institutions like property and money as compatible with a liberal ordering of society.

And, and that is, that is the core of my worry. I also think there's, there's another,

[00:09:47] Margaret Levi: It's the core of your worry because you don't think of them as neutral. Is that,

[00:09:55] Matt Prewitt: It's the core of my worry because I actually [00:10:00] think that, that. that these institutions, it's not just that they're not neutral.

It's more that they don't actually embody these values. It's not, they don't express equal respect for everyone. They, they don't. And, so what happens is basically the concentrations of power that form through these economic institutions end up themselves being sites of illiberalism, right?

They end up being nodes of illiberal power that are functioning in supposedly liberal societies. That's basically my worry.

[00:10:49] Margaret Levi: And do you see those nodes of power as being another term you use a lot is illegitimate or legitimate? So what would make those nodes of power either [00:11:00] illegitimate or legitimate? Or does that term not apply to them? When…

[00:11:10] Matt Prewitt: I talk about… The way that I think about legitimacy is, I basically take “legitimate” to essentially just mean like justified power. In the context of a legal ordering, that's, so I have quite a general way of understanding legitimacy, but I think that liberalism is trying to ensure that ours is legitimate.

And I think that. I think that if we have a better conception of what liberalism is trying to do or should be trying to do, [00:12:00] then it suggests to us ways that we could reform these economic institutions. that would, that would better ensure the legitimacy of power operating in liberal societies.

Does that make sense?

[00:12:14] Margaret Levi: Not fully to me, because you just decide to define legitimacy as having to do with the legal system and that property and money are both very much within the legal system as they are currently constituted as legal systems are currently constituted. It seems that by definition, they're legitimate, but I'm hearing you worry that they could, that somehow conflict with liberalism.

[00:12:44] Matt Prewitt: I see. I see. I understand it. Yeah, I guess we're getting tripped up on this sort of, positivist sort of thing. The, in other words, the, I'm using legitimacy in a, deeper way than just saying, [00:13:00] then for example, legality, I'm like, I, I. When I'm suggesting that power might be illegitimate, I'm, I'm not saying it's necessarily illegal.

I'm saying that there might be some sort of moral problem with its ordering.

[00:13:15] Margaret Levi: No, I would buy that, but that's the way you defined it earlier. Got us, I think, down this verbally defined. It got us down this path a little bit. okay. liberalism may be a basis for legitimate power but you feel like some of the institutions that have gotten embedded in it are problematic for that legitimacy and problematic for the state use of power.

[00:13:45] Matt Prewitt: That's right. That's right. and I think that in order to make them more legitimate, we need to have, we don't necessarily need to start here. This is a little bit theoretical, but I think it helps to have a better [00:14:00] conception of what, of what liberalism is trying to do. and the.

The way I understand that is, I view these sort of liberal principles as a way of, a way of ordering a society in which, you know, either irreconcilable or very difficult to reconcile conflicts of value exists. but that can nonetheless function peacefully and stably and, to the maximum, happiness of everyone.

So I understand liberalism is playing kind of a mediating role. It's like a way of thinking about the course of power or government power or whatever. As sort of a mediator. and, and I think that we've, [00:15:00] gotten into, I think a lot of 20th-century liberalism had an understanding of what such a mediator should be doing that I believe needs correction in order to reform these institutions.

Okay, so…

[00:15:21] Margaret Levi: That leads us, I think, into some of the more concrete ideas you have about how to reform these institutions so that the government can play more of a mediating role. And just so I, let me get one more piece of clarification out Matt, if I may. Which is that, part of what I think I hear you arguing about, the way in which property and money are embedded in liberalism currently, is that they make for a kind of unequal [00:16:00] playing field that then comes back and affects the way the government can act.

Because it affects power within government, because part of what liberalism is also about. I, as I understand you, it has to do with a kind of democratic piece as well that there's a popular piece of the accountability there. And if the population, Is very unequal or is unequal in ways that it can't be made, relatively equal in political terms, even if it's unequal in economic terms, then there's a problem.

[00:16:45] Matt Prewitt: Yeah, the way I would put it is, I think that there is a, I think that liberalism in some ways has. [00:17:00] let me, let me put it this way. I think that one problem with liberalism is that, I think that in many cases, its principles have been over applied. In other words, if you take these kinds of liberal ideas about how power should be exercised, which are originally conceived as constraints on government power, and then you apply those same liberal principles outside of the sphere of government power. They can erode, or disrupt different kinds of associations in society. I think this kind of over application of government principles has led to over application of liberal principles has led to some backlash against the concept of liberalism.

And then, on the other hand, I think we often have a like, under application of liberal principles. So we Have we, there are sites of power in society that [00:18:00] are, are not legitimate. There are morally objectionable where we are tempted to, apply liberal principles, for perfectly good reasons.

And, and what I want to suggest is that, like. There's a, I think that there's a different sort of enemy that liberalism should, should understand itself as having. liberalism, I think many liberals basically look throughout society and they look for. Examples of illiberalism and they try to liberalize examples of illiberalism, and I think that instead, what we should understand liberalism as doing is identifying certain kinds of illegitimate power and constraining those.

And what I suggest as the sort of criterion for identifying that kind of illegitimate power is, in this, the idea of compounding [00:19:00] power of sort of me. geometrically, exponentially, expanding, power imbalances between different actors in society. and so this connects very closely to the idea of monopoly.

I basically think that monopoly power is, in a sense, the problem that liberalism is trying to solve. And I think that's a more precise way of understanding what liberalism should be trying to do than just saying, for example, liberalism is about the constraint of government power, of course, of government power.

And I think that the reason that makes sense is because. Coercive government power is a classic example of a monopoly, right? The government uses its coercive power to prevent other actors throughout society from [00:20:00] using coercive power amongst themselves. So it has this kind of compounding effect.

Now, I don't think that's a bad thing. I think that we do want to minimize the amount of coercion that's going on throughout society, but because you have this kind of process that has a potential to reinforce itself, coercive government power is dangerous. And that's why. Liberal principles are a valuable guide upon it or valuable constraint on it.

So what I'm trying to do is suggest a different sort of target for the application of liberal principles, which has to do with monopoly.

[00:20:41] Margaret Levi: Okay, so that gets us into thinking about partial common ownership, because part of course, what drives radical exchange is a concern with. Creating a set of institutions that are not monopolies, but in fact are radically decentralized often, [00:21:00] or certainly decentralized, in terms of the distribution of power and accountability.

maybe you could talk a little bit about how one property has become a monopolistic problem and then how partial common property ownership is a way around that.

[00:21:22] Matt Prewitt: Yeah, property, the place to start here is just with the idea that private ownership of certain kinds of things, amounts to a kind of compounding power, a power that has the potential just to reinforce itself and grow exponentially.

And as a consequence, because of that, I, that's my story, basically, for why certain kinds [00:22:00] of economic power, should be guided by liberal principles instead of just being assumed as legitimate or natural. so property often gives its owners a kind of power that has a political character that can't really be accurately understood as.

As, of a different kind than the course of power that government, the government has. So partial common ownership is, a, way of re-conceptualizing or redesigning property rights that tries to draw a clear line between the kind of power that property rights, between the sort of political power that property rights give and the, and the non-compounding less.

presumptively illegitimate, sorts of economic power or power to [00:23:00] to steward assets or manage assets or resources, right? So it's about trying to distinguish between the monopolistic aspects of property and the non-monopolistic aspects of property. Okay.

[00:23:16] Margaret Levi: So tell me precisely as you can, what partial common ownership is.

[00:23:23] Matt Prewitt: Okay. So it's a way of rethinking the components of, an, ownership interest. The way that it works is as follows, right? So you might imagine. So let's imagine in the first case: just a traditional, ownership interest over something like land. The way that if you made a partial common ownership interest attaching to that same asset, it would look different instead of being one [00:24:00] permanent interest.

Enabling its owner, giving its owner sort of permanent dominion over that land. The idea would be to split that asset into two separate assets. One of those assets is what you could call a partial common ownership. The other, we'll call it a residual and we'll get to that later, but the partial common ownership interest works as follows.

It's an impermanent interest, but it's still an equity. It's still a kind of equity like interest. The way that it works would be if I have the, if I have a partial common ownership interest in land, what that enables me to do is it enables me to, that entitles me to act like the owner of the land for a particular, for a fixed period of time.

So it's kind of a time delimited. Form of dominion. [00:25:00]

[00:25:00] Margaret Levi: but I take it. It's different than the 99 year lease into British homes or whatever.

[00:25:06] Matt Prewitt: Yeah. So the crucial difference is that at the end of that, of that time delimited dominion. The asset goes on, goes up for auction when it is, when it goes up for auction, the previous owner can participate in the auction and can bid on it.

And if they win the auction, then they, if they put in a high bid, then they retain the asset. If they don't win it, then the asset goes to a new steward who then has a sort of a subsequent partial common ownership interest in it. But the key, the key twist here is that the winning bid for the asset from the new owner goes to the old owner.

So in other words, [00:26:00] if the value of the land increased during the time that I possessed it, then I proportionally benefit from that increase in its value and vice versa. If it goes down, similarly, if the prior owner of the land wins the auction, then you can think of them as they would have to pay the money to themselves.

So no money has to change hands. they just hold on to it. but at the time of each auction, some percentage of that winning bid. Is taken as a fee or sort of a property tax, which, then passes to, to the holder of the residual in the asset. And…

[00:26:50] Margaret Levi: Which is a second asset,

[00:26:52] Matt Prewitt: Which is a second asset, and I can talk a little bit more about how that residual, [00:27:00] works, but you can already see the dynamic that there's a. What the dynamic this is creating is, where the license to use assets passes between owners, and, and it may fluctuate in value and some, some portion of, and there's basically a stream of taxes or payments on the asset.

That is constantly being generated, being passed back to the to the holder of the residual as the asset fluctuates. Okay, let's make this

[00:27:40] Margaret Levi: even more concrete. so I know you've been doing some work with the serpentine in London and with artists. And with other owners of cultural property. and you've also been doing some work in Skowhegan, Maine.

Maybe you could give me some concrete examples of [00:28:00] how this works, and who benefits and what the advantages of this system are. Sure.

[00:28:06] Matt Prewitt: So, the idea is. Here's a good example in the case of, in the case of art. Let's say that an artist creates a work that could be like a tangible sculpture or something like that.

If they wanted to create a partial common ownership interest, what they would do is instead of just selling the object, they would sell a partial common ownership interest in the object, which would then be periodically put back onto, onto the auction block.

So the different owners would have the opportunity to acquire possession of it for temporary periods of time. Odd infinitum, right? so the asset will [00:29:00] pass around between different, between different stewards, meanwhile, it will generate a stream of income that goes back to the, to the residual.

Now the way to think about the residual or the holder of the residual. And I think some of the interesting possibilities with this become clear here is; that the idea is to make the residual. It is something that is collectively held and potentially and either minimally or non transferable.

So in the case of an artist creating works, a good way of thinking about this would be like an artist collective. So let's say you have a group of artists who are all creating, creating works of art. they, maybe they're young artists, for example, and they don't really know if maybe one of their careers will take off and the other ones won't. Maybe some of the things that they create will [00:30:00] end up becoming very.

Financially valuable and whereas most won't. Okay. So if they all, if everyone in the collective created, made their art available through partial common ownership interests, and you can imagine the collective being the holder of the residual. For all of those interests in art. And so what that would mean is that, is the artist collective would, would receive a permanent stream of payments that are generated by these artistic assets that are put out there into the world.

If some of them explode and become super valuable, then the, the. The lion's share of the benefits from that will be divided among the group of, of artists in the collective. And so with this, you can, it's like a social insurance scheme.

[00:30:58] Margaret Levi: So it does raise a [00:31:00] question though, Matt, in any of these systems, which is inheritance.

So it's clear that the person or persons who have to put. The object or land or whatever up for auction inheritance is irrelevant because it's a question of whoever bids for it at that time, but in terms of the residual inheritance becomes an issue. in the artist collective, does the one of the artists children then become a residual recipient of the residuals.

Is there inheritance in this system?

[00:31:36] Matt Prewitt: I think that you could do it either way. you it could be or it could not. all of these are sort of design questions that, that I think,

[00:31:47] Margaret Levi: can be, is a very particular design issue when you think about the history of property, because that's often how cumulative advantage happens, right?

You inherit something for which you have [00:32:00] not put in any of the effort.

[00:32:04] Matt Prewitt: Yeah, the, one way of thinking about it. So if, let's say the residual of an artist, if the holder of the residuals for a group of artworks is like an artist's collective, then, it could be that the residuals are simply held by the collective.

So that it would be up to the collective to work out problem, the issues of inheritance as the next generation, comes into being,

[00:32:39] Margaret Levi: Belong to the collective, and who's ever in the collective or…

[00:32:43] Matt Prewitt: Just

[00:32:44] Margaret Levi: …kinds of land or property ownership where there's collective ownership.

[00:32:48] Matt Prewitt: Yeah, and the whole idea of these kinds of residuals is to make them non-individual assets, right? [00:33:00] Assets that don't attach to particular individuals. And so, therefore, it gets around the problem of one person wanting to pass on their financial assets to the next generation.

If these, so these, residuals are permanent kinds of assets and the idea is that they should be. they should be, held, held, not by individuals, but by institutions or by networks or by, by other kinds of, non-individual, Entities. You have also done a lot of thinking about how, for example, trusts could hold residuals and then pursue a particular kind of mission for the, for how to use the return.

[00:33:56] Margaret Levi: There are many examples of land trusts where that kind of process [00:34:00] occurs, not partial common ownership, but the residual piece.

[00:34:04] Matt Prewitt: Yeah, exactly. So, there are institutions that exist that are capable of handling this problem. And,

[00:34:15] Margaret Levi: One of the things that I'm curious about is, their resonances in this, not surprisingly to the book by Glen Weyl and Richard (*Eric) Posner, on Radical Markets.

And this is different, right? So how is it different? Maybe you could explain that a little bit.

[00:34:35] Matt Prewitt: Yeah so, that book did a really nice job, laying out the basic mechanism design idea upon which, upon which this, this work, is based. but there are a lot of details in the way that it's exposited in that book that, that I think are impractical or [00:35:00] or they just aren't necessarily useful for the kind of work that I'm doing now, which is trying to build practical institutions that are able to use, to gain some of the possible benefits of the system like this.

So a few, I'll name a few of them. In that book, the idea of partial common ownership is primarily depicted as a continuous auction. In other words, an auction that is constantly ongoing so that anyone can get outbid at any time. That's actually a very good way of illustrating, theoretically, the power of this mechanism, but it's impractical because, for many kinds of assets, people need a certain degree of security.

in possession over a certain amount of time to be able to practically make use of something. Another [00:36:00] important difference is that in that book proposes that partial comment ownership could be. could be effectuated through changes in property tax regimes which, again, I think is an interesting idea, and I don't totally rule out that there are, possible ways that this idea could improve property tax regimes, but I don't think that you can, really convert legal ownership interests into partial common ownership interests through a tax regime through a change in a property tax regime without, for example, triggering the takings clause.

So, I think that the, yeah, just the more salient, more practical ways of moving this idea forward, go through other channels than that they have. It has more [00:37:00] to do with, setting up ways for communities to use partial common ownership to share power over common assets.

[00:37:10] Margaret Levi: Can you tell me how this improves upon common ownership?

Common property ownership. Why partial common as opposed to commons? Sure.

[00:37:21] Matt Prewitt: So one, in a way, what it's doing is splitting a false dichotomy that I think has, has, impeded, people's creativity in, in imagining new ownership relations and that false dichotomy. Has to do with the idea that like, if we want to distribute ownership over, over [00:38:00] assets, like the most, one way of doing that is to, is to split the asset into many different pieces, and essentially give everyone little fractional shares of a particular asset.

And another way of doing it is to. Consolidate the absolute dominion over the asset in one institution, and then put faith in the ability of that institution to represent the collective interests. I think that both of those, both of those are important. means of dividing power over assets have problems.

They basically both run into the same sort of coordination problem. if we take an asset, like a, if we take an individual, an indivisible asset, like a sculpture or something like that, it's a bit weird to [00:39:00] imagine lots of people owning little different shares of it, right? Because. Then what we're doing is we're just financializing it.

we're not resolving the question about who gets to put it in their museum or who gets to display it in their living room. and, and we're potentially inviting complex coordination. problems and collective decision problems, between the many different owners of all the fractions of the asset.

then on the other hand, if we, give the asset to the government, let's say, and then, and then assume that the government is, an accurate, representer of the common interest, then, to whatever extent, The government is dysfunctional, or to whatever extent the government is not actually able to embody or represent the collective interest.[00:40:00]

We haven't really done what we've wanted to do. So what partial common ownership does is it retains this kind of feature of assigning an economic actor. The ability to manage the asset to steward the asset, to possess the asset to act like the owner of the asset and to fulfill many of the functions that in an ideal sense, asset owners, fulfill, without giving that individual owner.

excessive or unnecessary or unnecessarily permanent power over the asset. Got

[00:40:50] Margaret Levi: it, but so would you see this partial common ownership as replacing common property in places where there are [00:41:00] literally commons? the Elinor Ostrom no, this is an alternative or, a compliment to

[00:41:08] Matt Prewitt: That.

No, I think it's a compliment to that. Because if you, there are lots of examples of, of assets that are, are held in common or that are managed by some, representative of a shared interest that just work fine. And, partial common ownership, yeah. Properly understood, properly applied personal ownership should not seek to change that.

So a good example is like a park, right?

[00:41:41] Margaret Levi: No, I was thinking about parks and I was thinking about grazing areas and…

[00:41:45] Matt Prewitt: Yeah, So there's no reason to, partial common ownership. There's no reason to use partial common ownership to change the way that parks are owned because parks [00:42:00] work, so when we have collective institutions that work well when we have.

Commons and arrangements that work. there's just, this is solving a problem that we don't have. Where this is, where this is interesting is where the sort of mentality of private ownership is, is over applied and where are. lack of creativity and imagining alternatives to individual private ownership demands, demands an alternative or we can do better.

Okay, that leads into

[00:42:46] Margaret Levi: My last question, which is one of the things that this conference is really about, is the politics of change. So what is your…how this all feeds into? And what is your theory of change here? [00:43:00]

[00:43:00] Matt Prewitt: My theory of change is that, I think that there are many examples in history, of a kind of a lack of creativity preventing us from, doing more to vindicate the common good.

And, and I think that we're in one of those moments where we've, we have so fetishized the, the efficiency and the justice and the legitimacy of private property arrangements that we just aren't seeing, different ways of doing it. I think that by experimenting with.

This particular way. Now, I think that this is a [00:44:00] different way of doing it that I think is uniquely powerful, uniquely interesting services, a template for, building different kinds of ownership arrangements, that do things that other kinds of, common, common zing arrangements, don't do, the.

And I think that when we get more experiments with it, when we get, when we build more of a critical mass of people and institutional actors who, who get this idea and who are able to put it into practice in their work, in their institutions, whether those are Artists collectives or land trusts or, or, data coalitions or whatever it may be.

There's lots of different sorts of domains of application. When we start to build a critical mass of people who deeply understand this idea and [00:45:00] are committed to experimenting with it and building on this as a template for better ownership arrangements, we will start to see a broader understanding of it.

We'll start to see some of these arrangements work. Will inspire other examples. It will inspire governments to think about, maybe we, maybe we can do better than just selling the city land to the highest bidder. Maybe we can set up a different kind of arrangement.

So I think that my theory of change is, is that, my theory of change. I can't find the right word, but my theory of change is that this is a better toaster oven. And when people see that it's a better toaster oven, more, more institutional actors and, [00:46:00] and organizations that are in a position to serve the common good will be inspired to, to take it up and it'll change the way we think about property.

Let's hope you're right.

[00:46:12] Margaret Levi: Lovely. Thank you, Matt. That was a great conversation.

[00:46:17] Matt Prewitt: Thank you. Really appreciate it.