A superb article by Elnor Ostrom. As in most of her works, criticises the centralised approach to managing these resources. She says to look at local knowledge for preservation of commons/common pool resources.
I loved this para at the end:
The global community has taken a long journey since 1987 in its efforts to understand how individuals cope with managing common resources, as well as other diverse economic and ecological situations as they try to improve their lives, the lives of their children, and lives of their children’s children. We are now developing better tools for analyzing how changes in rules, biophysical structures, and community attributes affect resources over time.71 We must, however, be modest in our claims to understand these complex systems and our attemps to derive the best answers.
We are fallible humans studying fallible human behavior within institutional structures constructed by other fallible humans. We should not act as if we know for certain how to achieve sustainable development. We can, however, recognize our growing capabilities and those of the individuals we study to experiment with rules, learn from the experiments, and, if the broader institutional and cultural milieu facilitates, gradually improve outcomes so they are sustainable over time.
Superb..Applies to all streams of economics..
On Ostrom all I can say is what Vikram (a reader of the blog) said:
The more I read her work, the more I find myself in awe of her. Amazing lady.
Thanks to the Nobel Commoutee for awarding her work. And I feel really bad not to note her work before the prize (perhaps am not alone in this). Though it is never too late. More of Ostrom to follow..