Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012)

Elinor Ostrom was an American political scientist. Being a professor, she spent many years analyzing governance, and she dedicated a particular attention to the field of the “commons”. The commons are areas that are significant to the whole population, such as natural resources, public spaces or even common values. She endorses the view that our world’s biggest problems, such as deforestation or lack of water, need to be tackled thanks to collective action. By studying different societies, she tried to understand how could we all efficiently cohabit without bringing our eco-system down to ruin. For Elinor Ostrom, this necessarily passes through a type of global economic governance, involving as many actors as possible, in order to fight the “tragedy of the commons”, which is the misuse of shared resources. Her singular vision was ignored for a long time, since governments and private actors could hardly agree with a vision that doesn’t give them the exclusive power of
decision-making. However, in 2009, her work was finally recognized, for she was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Economics, being the first woman to be granted that award. You can read more about Elinor Ostrom here!


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