Week Eleven (November 18): Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons

“Garrett Hardin’s (1968) portrayal of the users of a common-pool resource—a pasture open to all—being trapped in an inexorable tragedy of overuse and destruction has been widely accepted since it was consistent with the prediction of no cooperation in a prisoner’s dilemma or other social dilemma games. It captured the attention of scholars and policymakers across the world. Many presumed that all common-pool resources were owned by no one… Finding multiple cases where resource users were successful in organizing themselves challenged the presumption that it was impossible for resource users to solve their own problems of overuse.”– Ostrom

Video: Ostrom Nobel Prize Lecture.

Reading: Ostrom, “Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems,” pp. 641-45 and 663-65. Walker, “Labour Power as a Common Pool Resource.”