Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Who Owns the Sky?: Our Common Assets And The Future Of Capitalism

3.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 858-0000879865
ISBN-10: 1559638559
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$20.98 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$30.00 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
7 New from $30.00 17 Used from $5.26
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Excel2016ForDummiesVideo
Excel 2016 For Dummies Video Training
Discover what Excel can do for you with self-paced video lessons from For Dummies. Learn more.
$30.00 FREE Shipping. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Who Owns the Sky?: Our Common Assets And The Future Of Capitalism
  • +
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
Total price: $41.17
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barnes (The People's Land), cofounder and former president of the "socially responsible" financial services company Working Assets, argues that natural resource management urgently needs rethinking, since the atmosphere's capacity for absorbing carbon gas emissions is severely tested every day. While not an alarmist, he cites recent statistics (e.g., between 1923 and 1991, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air grew from 298 to 355 parts per million, and the earth's average surface temperature rose from 57.4 to 58.0 F) and insists that we need new solutions. In Barnes's view, the problem is that we view the sky and other natural resources as free and thus use them as if they're unlimited. Moving beyond what he regards as standard eco-hand-wringing, Barnes discusses the successes of cap-and-trade systems in reducing emissions of sulfur, lead and other pollutants, and proposes a similar market-based approach for carbon dioxide. Barnes's system of pricing permits is modeled in part on Alaska's plan, in which oil companies that drill in the state make payments that are distributed to Alaska residents through a dividend-producing trust. He likewise proposes that the revenues from emissions-permit sales should go to the public, with each citizen receiving an equal monetary share. In this very brief and disappointingly thin sketch of his system (he leaves the nuts and bolts to others), Barnes frequently sounds as if he's making a repetitive sales pitch. Skeptics on both the left (who may not buy his free-market solutions) and the right (who may object to yet another tax on business) are unlikely to be moved by this book.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

In 1985 Barnes cofounded Working Assets, a long-distance telephone service provider that sets aside a portion of each customer's bill to donate to social and environmental causes. He now proposes a market-based solution to the problem of atmospheric pollution. A nongovernmental institution called the Sky Trust would set limits on carbon emissions and charge companies for the "right" to pollute. In much the same way that Alaskan residents receive "dividends" from income earned on the state's oil leases, citizens would collect money paid to the Sky Trust by polluters. Money from the trust would also be used to balance the effects of higher fuel prices. Barnes meticulously documents why the earth's atmosphere is invaluable, and he catalogs the damaging effects of carbon dioxide emissions before detailing how the Sky Trust would operate. He compares the sky to pastures or woodlands historically used collectively by commoners and considers how the principles behind the Sky Trust might be applied to other so-called commons or societal assets such as biodiversity, the airwaves, and quietude. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559638559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559638555
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,272,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Z. Castleman on September 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Who Owns the Sky is an excellent, very thought-provoking book. It raises deep enviromental issues, explains some complicated concepts quite elegantly, and then proposes a solution nothing short of brilliant. The book is very well written and beautifully reasoned. I particularly like the fact that it crosses all political lines. It's neither liberal nor conservative. Rather, it goes beyond both. Very 21st century. It's a whole new vision. Barnes is a visionary.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I hate to disagree with the experts at the esteemed Publisher's Weekly, but Who Owns the Sky is an important book. It puts forward a very interesting transition proposal -- a Sky Trust -- based on the notion of per-capita rights to the earth's resources. Further, the Sky Trust may promise a way to manage the US's carbon emissions in a reasonably equitable manner, while at the same time providing enough money for a substantive "just transition" fund to help greenhouse losers like the coal miners.
In other words, there is some actual new thinking here, which the weary experts at PW seem too expert to recognise
The idea, in a nutshell, is that instead of grandfathering "the sky" away to, say, the corporations that already, in effect, squat it, emission permits would be auctioned, with the revenues going into a trust. Then, each year, 25% of the money would go to the transition fund, and each citizen would get a check (about $644 a year, in 2010, if carbon emission permits are $25 a ton) much as the citizens of Alaska get checks from the Alaska Permanent Trust, which is funded by mining and drilling royalties.
One point to remember, here, is that mining and drilling are *very* popular in Alaska.
There are problems, which I, being to the left of Barnes, am indeed bothered by. The "citizen" bit, for instance. And in my view Barnes takes too narrow of view of the transition problem, and is certainly wrong in thinking that a transition fund could or should be soon phased out. And there are a few others too, but I won't bother you with them just now. The important thing is that this is an important proposal, and that it has some political traction, which is particularly amazing given that it prominantly features the notion of per capita rights.
Read more ›
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Review of ‘Who Owns The Sky’ by Peter Barnes pub Island Press 2001
Chris Rose
This is a great little book that should be read by any environmentalist who really wants to save the atmosphere. Original and iconoclastic, its main fault is that it is so packed with big and new ideas so that it is in danger of being overlooked as too complicated.
Really it should be called ‘Let’s Own The Sky’ as it’s a rationale and rallying cry to take the common asset of the sky into common (as distinct from state) ownership. Barnes suggests a way to get Americans (or anyone) to take a stake in the sky as a waste disposal resource, and then charge for polluting it. Americans want to protect the climate says Barnes, but only if they can do so without any economic pain. Done right, via a ‘sky trust,’ Barnes says, would be a money-earner for most. Result – incentives to pollute less.
In the Barnes plan a Sky Trust would be funded by emission permits sold to energy companies at the top of the ‘carbon chain.’ The revenues would be paid out to citizens in equal dividends, like the Alaska Permanent Fund does with that State’s oil revenues.
Barnes is an entrepreneur with impeccable capitalist if Californian credentials. He has proposed a cap-and-trade system which charges polluters rather than handing out emission rights for nothing. As such it might appeal to less-government libertarians and egalitarian environmentalists alike.
...and you can get a notional non-transfer-able share of America’s sky. Barnes has a blueprint but is it a Bushprint ? Where else though is George Bush to go if he is to regain any credibility on the climate, after rashly rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty accepted by every other nation ? America needs some fresh thinking and this might be it.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Who Owns The Sky?: Our Common Assets And The Future Of Capitalism offers opinions and economical solutions to the complex problem of global warming. Author Peter Barnes (cofounder and president ofthe socially responsibile telephone company "Working Assets") argues persuasively in favor of treating the sky as a commonly owned asset, through a non-governmental Sky Trust that would charge rent for carbon emissions and pay equal yearly dividends, which would make the burden easier to bear for workers and firms that have the most difficult transition to a lower-carbon economy. A unique melding of capitalism, enlightened self-interest, environmentalism, and hope for the future, Who Owns The Sky? is just what the world needs most - a brainstorm of workable solutions to one of the potentially most monumental of global environmental problems.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
A short, vigorous, and persuasive argument for saving Earth from global warming by converting the atmosphere into a legally defined asset.

I came to this book by way of Peter Barnes’s more recent book Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons, in which he focuses more directly on the changes to “capitalism” implied by the ideas presented in Who Owns the Sky?. In the later book the author waxes enthusiastic about applying the “trust” concept to all kinds of commonly held resources, both natural and man-made. Those suggestions are intriguing, but the global climatic convulsion now in progress due to our burning of carbon is such an urgent issue that I wanted to read the earlier book as well.

I’m glad I have. In this book, published in 2001, Barnes walks the reader–briskly–through the line of reasoning that leads from the observation that resources that are not owned, such as the sky, are treated by modern capitalism as worthless, to the suggestion that they can be saved by assigning them a positive value. That means turning the resource, in this case the Earth’s atmosphere, into an economic asset. If we can do that, then capitalism, instead of degrading the sky by dumping waste into it, will start to protect it, because capitalists do not seek to destroy assets; they seek to increase them.

The question is how to achieve this. The author sees three possible approaches. One is having the government recognize the resource as a public asset, like the national forests, and take responsibility for assigning a price for its use. Another approach is to privatize the sky, so that one or more corporations acquire it as an asset that they manage.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Who Owns the Sky?: Our Common Assets And The Future Of Capitalism
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Who Owns the Sky?: Our Common Assets And The Future Of Capitalism