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Which clippings match 'Natural Resources' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 SEPTEMBER 2016

Elinor Ostrom and the solution to the tragedy of the commons

Elinor Ostrom's "research concerned the governance of common resources (also known as commons). The commons are natural resources, like land for grazing, fishing areas, forests for timber, water for the irrigation of farmland, and also more intangible resources, like knowledge, for which it is very expensive to control and fence in 'user' consumption. The problem with these types of resources, as shown in 1968 by Garrett Hardin (but Aristotle had already observed a similar phenomenon) is that they are over-exploited, or at least their care and sustainability is overlooked by users. The reason is that people behave opportunistically (like free-riders) and consider the resource they are accessing, without the possibility of being excluded, as a free resource, and they therefore maximize their private benefits but neglect, or collectivize, the costs.

Hardin coined the phrase 'tragedy of the commons' to describe this phenomenon and gave social sciences one of the most evocative metaphors after Adam Smith’s 'invisible hand'. These two metaphors are effective because they capture two essential social situations in marked contrast to one another. When social interactions are guided by an invisible hand, they reconcile individual choice and socially desirable results, whereas in the tragedy of the commons, individuals pursuing their private objectives cause disastrous consequences for themselves and others. The solution to the tragedy of the commons, before the contribution of Ostrom and her studies, was to privatize resources or, in a diametrically opposite view, to form a Leviathan state in order to manage them.

Instead, Ostrom demonstrated that, within communities, rules and institutions of non-market and not resulting from public planning can emerge from the bottom up to ensure a sustainable, shared management of resources, as well as one that is efficient from an economical point of view. Besides the village of Törbel, Ostrom shows examples of common lands in the Japanese villages of Hirano and Nagaike, the huerta irrigation mechanism between Valencia, Murcia and Alicante in Spain, and the zanjera irrigation community in the Philippines. Also, the property in the form of 'vicinale', neighborhoods, typical of regions of Italy like Emilia, the Belluno and the Ticino, are also collective institutions, although not investigated by Ostrom. The argument then has a more modern example if one notices that even the 'Wikipedia community' is a form of successful collective institution of a communal resource (knowledge)."

(Flavio Felice, Massimiliano Vatiero, 27 June 2012)

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TAGS

Adam Smith • American political economist • assets • Belluno • bottom-up organisation • collective institutions • collective interests • common pool resources (CPR) • common propertycommons • communal resource • economic governance • economic science • Elinor Ostrom • Emilia • English Industrial Revolution • exploitationfencing • Flavio Felice • Garrett Hardin • governance of common resources • Hirano • huerta irrigation mechanism • individual choice • invisible hand • Karl Polanyi • land management • Massimiliano Vatiero • Nagaike • natural resourcesopportunism • over-exploitation • political economics • political economist • political economyprivate control • privatisation • privatisation of land • public government • public planning • resource managementsocial interactionssocial situation • socially desirable results • sustainabilitysustainability thinking • Ticino • Torbel • tragedy of the commons • vicinale • Wikipedia • Wikipedia community • zanjera irrigation community

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 OCTOBER 2015

The Age of Stupid (2009): exploitation colonialism

Franny Armstrong (2009). "The Age of Stupid". London, Spanner Films / Passion Pictures.

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2009 • 2055 • 2D animationAfrica • animated segments • Atlantic slave trade • British filmclimate changecolonial expansioncolonial historycolonisation • copper • cotton • crude oildepletion of natural resourcesdestructive practices • diamond • drama-documentary-animation hybrid • economic policy • energy consumptionenvironmental determinism • exploitation of native populations • exploitation of natural resources • extraction of raw materials • fertile landfinancial gain • Franny Armstrong • geopolitics • George Monbiot • goldhuman history • hybrid cinematic technique • imperialismindependent cinemaIraq • ivory trade • John Battsek • Lizzie Gillett • Mark Lynas • national territory • native populations • natural resourcesoil extractionPassion Picturespatterns of consumption • Pete Postlethwaite • rubber • satirical illustration • slave trade • slavery • Spanner Films • spice trade • territory • The Age of Stupid (2009) • timber • tin • transatlantic slave trade • war over water • William Tell Overture • wood

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 MAY 2014

An animated meditation on destructive consumption practices

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20122D animationAdobe FlashAfter Effectsalien beingsanimationapocalypseassembly lineblack humour • central species on the planet • consumptiondepletiondepletion of natural resourcesdestructive practicesdeus ex machina • Edvard Grieg • environmental consequencesexploitation of natural resourcesextinctionfast foodfood productionhave dominion over all other living creatureshuman activities • humanocentrism • In the Hall of the Mountain King • instrumental view of natureintensive agriculture • KFC • Man (2012) • mass extinctionmeat production • most significant species on the planet • natural environmentnatural resourcesnatural world • natural world has value only as it benefits humankind • non-renewable resource • patterns of consumptionpollutionrhythm of the planetrubbishsatirical illustrationSteve Cuttsterrestrial ecosystemunsustainablewanton destructionwastewelcomewildlife reserves

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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