Elinor Ostrom Dies at 78

Ostrom’s work highlighted the power of “the commons”

Common Dreams staff, June 13, 2012

Indiana University, where Ostrom had been a faculty member, remarked in a statement on her passing that her Nobel-winning work “showed that ordinary people are capable of creating rules and institutions that allow for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources. Her work countered the conventional wisdom that only private ownership or top-down regulation could prevent a ‘tragedy of the commons,’ in which users would inevitably destroy the resources that they held in common.”

In a 2010 interview with YES! Magazine, Ostrom said in answering what her message to the general public would be, “Some of our mentality about what it means to have a good life is, I think, not going to help us in the next 50 years. We have to think through how to choose a meaningful life where we’re helping one another in ways that really help the Earth.”

Elinor Ostrom: Going beyond the tragedy of commons by Stockholm Resilience Centre


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