Creativity requires free resources—including a commons—in order to flourish. The question is not whether government or the market should control these resources, but rather whether the resources should be controlled at all. So argues Lawrence Lessig in The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World.
(Lessig’s publisher, Random House, certainly doesn’t have a clue: the downloadable electronic edition of The Future of Ideas actually costs more than the hardcover edition, even though the cost of production for the electronic edition approaches zero while the cost of production for the hardcover edition is not insignificant. But that’s a topic for another essay.)
Clearly, some resources must be controlled if they are to be sustained, but Lessig’s point is that the default condition should be free, with control imposed when necessary for sustainability.
Free resources must be kept widely available especially in the case of resources that are nonrivalrous. Lessig uses the example of Einstein’s theory of relativity to illustrate a nonrivalrous resource. I can use it as much as I like, and there’s still just as much of it as there ever was available for your use. My consumption does not rival yours in this case. Public streets, on the other hand, are a rivalrous resource. If everyone decided to use a road at the same time, then your use rivals mine and we have a mess of a traffic jam.