Defining a new paradigm for
human and economic development
"No amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them."
- President Theodore Roosevelt

Defining a new paradigm for human and economic development

Prosperity of the Commons International (PCI) empowers individuals, communities, and businesses to maximize human prosperity while simultaneously achieving dynamic socio-ecological sustainability.

At PCI, the "Commons" is defined as the combination of, and relationships among,  individuals, communities, and nature, including their tangible and intangible assets. “Prosperity” is the level of holistic value of economic and non-economic factors (such as wellbeing, resiliency, and sustainability) of the fully integrated Commons system.

We measure and define levels of prosperity by broadly accepted standards (no slavery, no child labor, basic access to food, clean water, healthcare, power, connectivity, and accommodations) combined with local, regional, and industry standards, higher order goals, and principles that evolve to reflect increasingly healthy and thriving individuals, communities, and natural systems.

We shift the development paradigm from an asset-centric or rights based approach to one that is human-centric in its optimization of the Commons. Through such an approach, the tragedy of the natural commons can be transformed into an increasing prosperity of the Commons.

To maximize the prosperity of the Commons, we implement a prosperity-centric development paradigm that is separated into four primary yet intertwined Pillars that inform and augment existing human systems.

The Four Pillars of Prosperity

Increasing the prosperity of the Commons

Individual Prosperity

Robust, real-time data collection and analysis of the (i) financial and physical condition of all labor, and (ii) holistic wellbeing of the families and communities related to those who make the products consumed around the globe, from raw material production all the way through to the consumers' hands. This supports the prosperity of private individuals and enterprises.

Community Prosperity

New, efficient economic, business, and data collection models for public services, public goods, and natural resources that (i) work to minimize wealth transfer in the process of service provision, good creation, or natural resource utilization, and (ii) optimize wealth creation for communities while utilizing sustainable and resilient practices.

Natural Prosperity

Management and utilization of all natural resources that is transparent, sustainable, and resilient, whether publicly or privately held, including local offsetting of all natural resource impacts.

Collective Capacity

Trans-systemic capacity development to enable individual and community self-governance and self-determination within this system.

Together, these four pillars create the foundations for moral capitalism and, in fact, a moral society.

What We Do - Prosperity of the Commons International™

The Problem

A single source of many crises

Our current economic development paradigm

There are many crises that humans around the world face everyday that are continuing to intensify. We need a new paradigm of social change leadership to transform these interconnected challenges into the greatest human and economic development opportunity in history.

These problems include too much atmospheric carbon, deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, poverty and hunger, inequality, etc. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are meant to capture everything required to put us on a sustainable path. Unfortunately, listing each of these crises individually hides their common root and generates solutions that most often benefit a few at the expense of the masses while perpetuating the tragedy of the commons.

All of these crises arise from the same source: an economic development paradigm that (i) treats labor as a commodity, not as human beings with an inherent right to a prosperous life, (ii) extracts wealth from communities in the process of providing public services and goods or managing and utilizing natural resources, and (iii) promotes the use of natural resources in a manner that is unsustainable or, if sustainable, not in a just and equitable fashion.

This development approach leads to abusive working conditions, exploitation of labor and community assets, exploitation of nature, regional as well as global instability, and long-term business and ecological unsustainability. If we do not implement a new economic paradigm, we will continue to exploit both people and planet towards ever-increasing wealth inequality and resource exhaustion.

"Holistic, goal-driven, public-private partnerships can only be achieved through multi-sector collaborations that first focus on the development of, and consensus on, higher order goals."
- Nelson Del Rio Sr.
Indispensable Ocean : Aligning Ocean Health and Human Well-Being // Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group (2013)
The Solution

Moral systems for maximizing prosperity

Establish social systems that inherently generate moral outcomes

PCI works with partners to establish the data platform, asset development, business models and relationships, legal and regulatory relationships, and capacity development activities to establish social systems that inherently generate moral outcomes and greater long run risk-adjusted returns for all partners, irrespective of individual participants' moral intent.

Depending on the particular needs of each project, we focus on implementing individual or combinations of the four Pillars of Prosperity.

Individual Prosperity

To support Individual Prosperity, the partners involved, including the individuals impacted, work together to establish the standards of prosperity collectively desired, a combination of fundamental standards applied globally and those collectively developed. The data will begin with, and over time evolve beyond, health, education, food, electricity, sanitation, housing, income, water, safe labor conditions, and other foundations of prosperity. The collection of this quantitative and qualitative data then informs a synthesized "Prosperity Index" to which participants, as well as related consumers, will have access.

Community Prosperity

To support Community Prosperity, we engage private, public, non-governmental, civic, and other actors to establish public-private partnerships to develop and provide services directed by business, legal, and financial structures that provide or utilize, as the case may be, public services, public goods, or commons while simultaneously (i) allowing integration of and addressing impacts across all activity (e.g., impact of solid waste management and waste water treatment on the commons and related businesses), (ii) optimizing long-term wealth of communities, and (iii) minimizing the risk placed upon the communities as part of such activity.

Natural Prosperity

To support Natural Prosperity, each of the above activities is informed by deep engagement with local citizens, stakeholders, and with scientific experts on which natural resources are degraded or depleted and what conditions must be in place to support their ongoing sustainability or cultivation.  We will use IoE to measure and monitor environmental conditions and the resulting analysis to inform nuanced policy development, strategic decisions, and develop natural resource management practices to cultivate sustainability and resilience.

Collective Capacity

Finally, to support Collective Capacity development, we embed new community and corporate education and governance processes so that stakeholders can engage in the creation and implementation of, as well as actively manage and improve on, the system solutions put in place. These capacity development initiatives are embedded in the performance of system management and may be active on the scale of years.

Scientific Research

Prosperity of the Commons International™ brings decades of scientific inquiry and practice to our work optimizing the relationship between the public and private spheres by supporting wealth creation, economic development, and good governance and maximizing human wellbeing and the productivity and sustainability of the commons.

A heterogeneous global web

Dynamic, actionable information systems designed to evolve over time

In all PCI development projects, we begin with baseline data architecture, add to that any previously established regional or industry specific structures, then work with participants to refine the structure for the project at hand. Such an approach allows the creation of a heterogeneous global web reflecting regionally- and industry-determined prosperity guided by dynamic, actionable information systems designed to evolve over time. As more industries and regions are managed using the prosperity platform, the system becomes more efficient, intelligent, and mutually reinforcing.

We work with diverse public and private partners to develop their capacity to evolve and improve the system over time to continue to achieve their goals and generate the highest level of individual and community prosperity while causing successful economic expansion and just and equitable wealth creation. Ultimately, we design, operate, and/or implement a wide-variety of private as well as public-private partnerships and structures designed to generate maximum prosperity of the Commons. PCI is an international full-stack developer.

"Stakeholderism would increase the insulation of corporate leaders from shareholders, reduce their accountability, and hurt economic performance. In addition, by raising illusory hopes that corporate leaders would on their own provide substantial protection to stakeholders... [it] would impede or delay reforms... [Stakeholderism] should be opposed by those who take stakeholder interests seriously."
- Lucian A. Bebchuck & Roberto Tallarita,
"The Illusory Promise of Stakeholder Capitalism." Cornell Law Review (2020)

Who We Are

Our Team

Our team created the original credit rated and bond insured public good projects utilizing publicly traded debt to support community public-private partnership structures and have innovated in the industry for the last 30 years. We have also built companies and led innovation efforts in law and policy, merger and acquisition finance, commercial real estate, global development, sustainable finance and governance, education, data analytics and technology development, grassroots organizing and community development, consulting, marketing, security, and large scale public-private partnerships with corporations, IGOs, NGOs, and governments.

Nelson Del Rio

President and Chairman

Mr. Del Rio has over 35 years of experience as an attorney, investor, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and impact investor. Del Rio began his professional career as a merger and acquisition attorney at the Wall Street law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom. Following his legal career, Del Rio initially gained success in business by creating novel forms of asset securitization then moved onto implementation of his theory of prosperity-centric development in groundbreaking public-private partnership structures. Del Rio then extended his creative ability to general real estate acquisition and development and other business ventures. Del Rio has experience in, among other areas, law, mergers and acquisitions, tax structuring, finance and securitization, real estate, technology, social ventures, strategic advisory services and public/private partnership structuring and implementation. In addition to his business efforts, Del Rio has been involved in numerous university and philanthropic boards focusing on environment, social equity and justice, education, health, leadership and various forms of application of nascent technologies. He is the founding board member of University of Washington's College of the Environment. In 2012, Del Rio was one of 21 elected to the World Bank's Blue Ribbon Panel assigned with the task of developing a globally accepted definition of ocean sustainability. The approach adopted in the Blue Ribbon Panel Report reflects the application of Del Rio's theory of prosperity-centric human development. Del Rio's vertically integrated modular development company Blokable is a pragmatic application of his prosperity-centric human development paradigm as a solution to the affordable housing dilemma.


Nelson Del Rio Jr.


Nelson devotes his life to changing the paradigm of human development at a community and global level currently through his roles as the CEO and Co-Founder of Prosperity of the Commons International (PCI), Co-Founder of the Coalition for Prosperity of the Commons (CPC), and a leader in his family’s philanthropic activity. Having learnt about the farthest reaches of the globe after engaging with people of all walks of life and traveling to 70 countries, 55 by the age of 13, Nelson saw the great inequities, injustices, and imbalances that are increasingly impeding true sustainable human prosperity at all levels. Learning from his family’s decades of work in advancing true systemic change for the good of the people through international development, finance, philanthropy (over $300 million in philanthropic efforts), policy, real estate, community development, education, environmental sustainability, impact, and other fields along with Nelson’s own experiences and engagement with corporations, IGOs, NGOs, and governments, it became apparent to him that the only way to create true impact & sustainability was a paradigmatic change with human prosperity at its core in harmony with long-term ecological sustainability. Nelson studied international policy development, international security, and environment & finance. During the course of his studies, Nelson also learned to speak 5 languages including Arabic, Russian, Chinese, and French. In his free time, he loves to do water sports, travel, and spend time with his family and loved ones.


Edward Burton

COO and Chief International Markets Officer

Ed Burton brings his international business and government experience to Prosperity of the Commons by contributing to the development of its strategies and global reach. He is the Managing Director of the Grey Griffon Group, a consultancy with a diverse global client base. Ed served a decade as the CEO of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council. As the Council’s CEO, Ed worked with key American and Saudi government and business leaders to promote the interests of the bilateral economic and commercial relationship. He has counseled hundreds of Global Fortune 1000 companies. Prior to joining the Council, Ed held several U.S. diplomatic posts including serving as the Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He authored the best-selling book “Business and Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia,” published by John Wiley & Sons, and has written numerous articles published in leading magazines and journals such as Forbes, Oil and Gas Journal, and the online newspaper The Hill. He has been interviewed on CNN International and CNBC on international business. He served former State of New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman as the Director of New Jersey’s International Trade Office. Ed also practiced law with the New Jersey law firm Cooper Levenson.


Johan H. Williams

Chief Intergovernmental Strategies Officer

Johan H. Williams has a life-long attachment to the fishing industry, which started with his family’s fish-processing and fishing vessel company. He spent two years as a fisherman and fish factory worker before becoming a student and research assistant with the Norwegian College of Fisheries. He then joined the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries in 1977.

From 1980 - 1988 Williams served with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the last 4 years as Chief of the Fisheries Division. In 1988 he was appointed Fisheries Counselor to the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1988 - 1994.

In 1994 Johan H Williams rejoined the Ministry of Fisheries as advisor in the Department of Resource Management and Planning and thereupon was the Director General of the renamed Department for Resource and Ocean Management from 1997 - 2011. Amongst other areas, he had responsibility for the Norwegian fisheries resource management and fishing fleet structure policy. In 2011 he took position as Specialist Director mainly focusing on international processes until he in 2020 retired from Norwegian Government service and is established as an independent fisheries and ocean management advisor through his company Will.Fish Ocean Management.

From 1995 he led the Norwegian delegations to FAO/COFI as well as numerous quota negotiations. He was Chair of FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Committee (COFI 31) from 2012 to 2014 and President of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) from 2011 to 2016. In 2013 - 2014 he, together with PCI's president Nelson del Rio, was member of the World Bank Global Partnership for Oceans Blue Ribbon Panel. From 2017 - 2021 Williams was elected to chair the International Standard Organization (ISO) Technical Committee TC 234 “Fisheries and Aquaculture.”

Williams has been a consultant to many organizations and countries, most notably from 2004 - 2012 he was adviser to the Government of Vietnam in their implementation of their new fisheries legislation. From 2016 - 2018 he has been engaged as a policy advisor to the Fisheries Ministry in Sri Lanka.

Johan H. Williams received his M.Sc. in Fisheries from the Norwegian Fisheries College, University of Tromsø. His honors include Grand Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau (Dutch Royal Honors).

Job experiences from:

Kenya, India, Portugal, Egypt, Tanzania, Tunis, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, China, Nicaragua, Nordic Countries, Brasil, Namibia, Korea, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Angola, Emirates, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Caribbean, Saudi Arabia, Uganda.


Corey Cleland

Managing Director - Innovation and Program Development

Corey Cleland is an entrepreneur and growth strategist who consults with ethically aligned companies and organizations on their full-stack: from supply chain and product development to branding, technology, and marketing. He has significant experience building personal development and natural health companies that bring exceptional integrity to their sourcing and production practices. He founded a 10 acre farm and health food and juice cafe in his hometown in Louisiana. As CMO of Synchro Nutritionals he increased annual revenue from $600k to $3M in only three months. He also founded the on-demand, cold-pressed juice delivery service Thistle, which, by 2020, had raised a total of $15.7M. In addition to his own companies, he continues to advise companies across industry that have vision and strong operational capacity and align with the integrity we want to see more of.


Zach Schlosser

Managing Director - Capacity Development

Zach Schlosser is an entrepreneur and researcher, focused primarily on building educational cultures for solving fundamental human challenges. He cofounded Numina, an organizational consultancy that uses mobile tech to scale peer coaching and team and leadership development. After Numina, he founded The School for the Future, an online academy weaving together personal virtue development with activism and entrepreneurship training. On the basis that the largest scale infrastructure challenge humans are currently facing is the healthy integration of nature, humanity, and tech at all scales, he won grant funding to produce original research on using resilience measures from ecological network science to build digital monitoring tools for supply chain resilience. He also cofounded and now consults with the multidisciplinary design firm ( æthos ) studio, recently helping to define the community development, branding, and internal training strategy for a $1B tech startup.


Advisory Board



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Our Purpose

Our Mission

Prosperity-centric development takes a human focused, data-driven approach to transform capitalism and the management and utilization of the commons to maximize individual and community prosperity while ensuring long-term ecological sustainability, successful economic expansion, and just and equitable wealth creation. The prosperity-centric approach will catalyze and accelerate technological innovation, diversified investment, economic growth, and ecological health.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which human and capital systems generate moral outcomes that optimize prosperity and security in harmony with socio-ecological sustainability for current and future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by moral capitalism?

While we seek to encourage and support moral behavior by all people, it is impossible to conceive of an approach that is solely based upon the formal education of every human to create truly moral citizens capable of universally moral choices. Further, if such moral citizens could be created, when they are made part of an amoral capitalistic system their actions will nevertheless generate immoral outcomes as a result of the natural tendencies of the current capitalism paradigm. At PCI, we propose a mechanism to support the creation of a capitalistic system that provides not only monetary signals but also signaling regarding broader concepts of prosperity of the Commons - moral capitalism. Such an approach allows the engine of capitalism to operate in a self-regulating fashion towards a defined moral outcome without heavy bureaucracy, conflicts among stakeholders, power struggles, or conflicting fiduciary obligations. Prosperity-centric capitalism can operate freely to drive innovation and growth while simultaneously (i) preventing the commodification of labor, (ii) sustaining and supporting natural systems, and (iii) preventing the unnecessary transfer of wealth from communities in the interaction between public and private.

What's the difference between prosperity and sustainability?

"Sustainability" is an asset-centric concept.  It typically refers to the ability to maintain a physical asset and its exploration. This leads to models focused on regeneration, circular use, and other forms of resource efficiency. "Prosperity" is a human-centric concept that refers to the holistic value of the Commons of which sustainably managed natural resources are a fundamental component. A prosperity focus leads to development, management, and utilization of natural resources sustainably and in a manner that optimizes wealth creation in the Commons.  Sustainability does not resolve issues of economic disempowerment and wealth consolidation while prosperity is designed with a focus on these.

Are you advocating for a redistribution of wealth?

No, we are advocating for the just and equitable creation of wealth from the Commons and the establishment of public-private relationships that maximize Commons wealth.  Such an approach encourages innovation, enables private finance activity, and empowers the generation of wealth by individuals and private enterprises engaged in business as well as public-private activity.

Are you advocating socialism?

No, this is not socialism. Prosperity-centric development is based upon the efficiency of capitalism but transforms it to an intelligent system geared to achieve moral outcomes. Self-determination and free markets are essential elements of prosperity-centric development. It is inherent within the prosperity-centric development model that private actors are incentivized to innovate and create private wealth.

Are my investments/company still going to be profitable under this system?

Even more! Current long-term profit and wealth creation mechanisms are unsustainable and inefficient, as their implementation destroys the bases from which they are generated. Further, as consumers recognize the importance of supporting moral capitalism, those companies that are fully engaged in the effort will be far more profitable than those that fail to demonstrate that they operate at levels of morality demanded by humankind.  Additionally, when capitalism is used to increase the wealth of the Commons, the total possible wealth for all increases as human systems expand and thrive. Any short-term cost burdens in implementing prosperity-centric models are long-term investments to increase the efficacy, efficiency, and resilience of wealth generation and its source.


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Join the new paradigm.

The Prosperity of the Commons International model for development is applicable to the work of for-profits, non-profits, NGOs, educational institutions, and others. To work with us to implement the Prosperity Development model, fill out our contact form and we will set up an initial consultation.

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