The "global commons" is a metaphor. Metaphorically, all of the earth's resources are held in common by this and future generations, to be used and abused as we and our heirs see fit. Yet "the commons" metaphor may also be seen at a less global level, and less metaphorically. In much of the developing world, common property provides a complex system of norms and conventions regulating individual use rights to a variety of natural resources, including forests, grazing lands, fisheries and water resources. This article will examine both macro-level issues of the commons, and micro-level cases, with emphasis on developing countries. Macro-level issues involve problems of international governance, while micro cases involve local management of natural and human resources. While much previous attention has been given to international governance, such as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or the Montreal Protocol on chlorofluorocarbon emissions, this article will also give particular attention to local resource management.