The political economy of Elinor Ostrom (2009 Nobel Laureate in Economics)

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The tragedy of the commons refers to the tragedy that befalls resources that are held in commons. Like the overgrazed commons of a British sheep town, since no one feels ownership, no one feels compelled to preserve the commonly held resource. Some of the current examples include water and air quality, which are often viewed as resources that cannot be owned by individuals. The tragedy of the commons is then invoked to justify attempts to control those resources by governments rather than by markets.

At our last session, we were briefly presented with the ideas of Elinor Ostrom, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009 (the only female recipient of this award) and considered one of the founder of the “Bloomington School” of economics.  Much of her work deals with efficiencies in local governments, natural resources and turning the “tragedy of the commons” into the “opportunity of the commons“.

References:

What:  Politics and a Pint
Where: The Contented Cow
When: Sunday 23 OCT 11 starting at 6:00pm

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