praise for Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues in the International Association for the Study of Common Property have gotten a lot of mileage out of proving Garrett Hardin wrong. Hardin coined the phrase “Tragedy of the Commons” in a seminal 1968 Science article. Hardin’s brief article offered a clear and intuitively appealing account of why common property resources (CPRs) would not be managed sustainably at a local level. Ostrom and her colleagues showed that the Tragedy of the Commons was not inevitable and that a great number of different CPRs could be sustainably managed, sometimes for centuries…..

It turns out the problem with commons is not common ownership: it is open access.

Inger Weibust, reviewing The Commons in the New Millennium: Challenges and Adaptations, edited by Nives Dolsak and Elinor Ostrom (MIT Press, 2003) in Global Environmental Politics 4:4 (November 2004), pp. 161-163.

Recycled from the Thought du Jour archive.

Inger Wiebust is an assistant professor in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University, Ottawa. She is author of Green Leviathan: The Case for a Federal Role in Environmental Policy (Ashgate, London, UK, 2009). Indiana University political scientist Elinor Ostrom yesterday shared the Nobel Prize in economics “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons”.


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