In October 2012, Icelanders voted in an advisory referendum regarding six proposed policy changes to the nation’s 1944 Constitution. In response to the question, “In the new Constitution, do you want natural resources that are not privately owned to be declared national property?,” Iceland’s citizens responded with a decisive “yes.” Eighty-one percent of those voting supported the commons proposal.
The constitutional reforms are a direct response to the nation’s 2008 financial crash, when Iceland’s unregulated banks borrowed more than the country’s gross domestic product from international wholesale money markets. As Jessica Conrad of On the Commons reported, “It is clear that citizens are beginning to recognize the value of what they share together over the perceived wealth created by the market economy.”
After the October vote, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir said, “The people have put the parliament on probation.”
Icelanders Vote to Include Commons in Their Constitution
Jessica Conrad, “Icelanders Vote to Include the Commons in Their Constitution,” Commons Magazine, November 2012, http://onthecommons.org/magazine/icelanders-vote-include-commons-their-constitution.
Thorvaldur Gylfason, “Iceland: Direct Democracy in Action,” Open Democracy, November 12, 2012, http://www.opendemocracy.net/thorvaldur-gylfason/iceland-direct-democracy-in-action.
Student Researcher: Pedro Martin Del Campo (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (Sonoma State University)