Sunday, April 18, 2010

No simple formulas

Here's an excerpt from an interview with Elinor Ostrom by Fran Korten in Yes magazine. Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on how people cooperate:

Fran: If you were to have a sit-down session with someone with a big influence on natural resources policy say Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, or Ken Salazar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, what would be your advice?

Elinor: No panaceas! We tend to want simple formulas. We have two main prescriptions: privatize the resource or make it state property with uniform rules. But sometimes the people who are living on the resource are in the best position to figure out how to manage it as a commons.

Yah - I agree! At the supermarket now there are labels that provide a single number, the products "NuVal", which is supposed to help people make better decisions on what to eat. Right.

And along the lines of simple formulas, Yes magazine also has a list of 8 rules for governing a commons so you don't have to read Ostrom's famous book. Interesting to see how many of them are broken by the governance of the Missouri River.

No comments:

Post a Comment