Workshop Organisers: “September Suggestions”

Hoping for the step forward to the “hot” stage of our workshop “Beyond Ostrom – working on commons, defending scientific autonomy, improving the method and methodology of research and teaching in Economics” 8.-10.11.2013 we should like to remind you of our mail from August 18th. In this connection we want especially to highlight our four questions[1] we had asked already in April and the replies documented on our blog on the one hand and on our six working theses on the other hand. Please have a look at

To further your thinking and rethinking and to stimulate you to “feed” the workshop blog we want to “sharpen” the working theses to a few, but even more provocative statements:

1.    The fascinating ability of the Ostroms for formulating helpful questions concerning the possible ways for dealing with “threats to sustainability” is highly fruitful for dealing with mainstream economics, but it must not be regarded as an offensive dealing with them.

2.    Their ability to counteract any over-simplification and reduction of complexity, which is also attractive, can be used for developing sustainability economics, but it could also be used for qualifying mainstream economics.

3.    The engagement of the Ostroms in examining and re-examining their own theses, as well as their own statements and explanations, especially by looking for the real behavior of individuals and collectives, is undoubtedly productive for the work on sustainability economics. But it is not automatically a characteristic feature of sustainability economics. Their focus on the individual and the micro level in a framework of games is debatable and in some contrast to a more substantial kind of sustainability economics.

4.    The interdisciplinary approach of the Ostroms is another highly estimated advantage of the Ostroms that must be used by sustainability economists struggling to overcome these limitations we have already mentioned..                                           

The heritage of the Ostroms is essential for the work in research and teaching in the sense of sustainability economics, but it has to be connected with the dimension of the globalized society resp. humankind, and at the same time with the analysis of social relations, of power relations of property relations.

5.    The heritage of the Ostroms is also essential for working on bringing solidarity oriented and emancipatory agents – individuals and collectives – together, particularly in three clearly identified, but interconnected political areas of action: The striving for democratic, for social – in particular, a poverty-proof minimum social security – and for ecological standards (1), for the maintenance and democratisation of the public sphere, above all of public finance (2) and for an active commitment to a constructive local and regional development (3). Participatory processes as such do constitute an essential connection and bridge between (1), (2) and (3). We do see real existing and potential possibilities for people here to appropriate knowledge and capacities for solidarity based cooperation, for dealing actively with the causes and perpetrators of social and ecological problems, and in so doing for creating (or being able to create) viable political alliances for positively changing (or being able to change) collective and social life in a sustainable way – acting, via solidarity networking, locally and regionally, supra-regionally, on the European level and globally.

And now, please help us to make the workshop a step forward to sustainability economics while changing the society – making it more democratic, social, solidarity oriented, and ecological!

[1] 1) Which is your special interest in the heritage of Ostrom’s work on the commons? 2) What is your special interest in the heritage of Ostrom’s work on the method and methodology of research and teaching in Economics? 3) Do you have any English texts at your disposition which could give an impression of your interests and possible contributions to the workshop? 4) Could you please send us the address of your website or of the website of your collective?

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