Peter Söderbaum: How Can the Language of Economics be Made Politically More Relevant?

I share the opinion that Elinor Ostrom’s contribution is timely and important in many ways. Her reference to interdisciplinary approaches is not new (Cf. Kenneth Boulding, Gunnar Myrdal, Herbert Simon) but she is strengthening this tradition. Her focus on important sustainability issues and property regimes is very much needed. Please click here

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 Continue reading

Jack Reardon: Workshop Suggestions

Alfred Marshall wrote in his best-selling principles of economics text that “economic conditions are constantly changing, and each generation looks at its own problems in its own way” (Marshall 1920, p. v.]). Our generation is confronted with many problems including climate change, environmental damage, a global financial crisis, a palpable disparity in income and wealth, escalating debt, and a health care crisis. These problems are mutually reinforcing and will only worsen. More

Bob Jessop: Introduction to Elinor Ostrom

The article chosen for translation in this issue is by the recently deceased ‘Nobel Economics Laureate’, Elinor Ostrom. It presents a typical example of her heterodox and provocative critique of the abstract and formalistic case for the ‘tragedy of the commons’, i.e., the argument that rational economic humans have significant incentives to over-exploit ‘common pool resources’ at the margin and will eventually render then unsustainable to the lasting harm of future generations (cf. Hardin 1968). Ostrom’s analysis is based on her own fieldwork, critical comparison of many empirical studies, game-theoretic analyses, and experiments in institutional design. More

Patrick Bond: Commoning, Rights and Praxis: The Case of South Africa

Two critical commoning debates – between Elinor Ostrom and David Harvey over scale, and between between socialists oriented to state power and autonomists oriented to horizontal politics – have reflections in contemporary South African commons struggles. These struggles have three dimensions: 1) the natural commons especially relating to water, air and land; 2) the produced commons associated with ideas (the intellectual property rights to AIDS medicines) and state services (especially water); and 3) the peopled commons in which crossing of our local (ethnically-demarcated) and regional borders has confronted both official and popular xenophobia. Continue reading

Michael Brie: Workshop Suggestions

On the way toward an new political economy –»Understanding Institutional Diversity« (2005) by Elinor Ostrom

In contrast to her works on the commons the late work of Elinor Ostrom »Understanding Institutional Diversity” is still almost unknown or unstudied. But what was a generalization of her earlier empirical studies on water resources became more and more elaborated. The famous Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at the Indiana University in Bloomington became a laboratory of global research and a space for generating a new framework of research. Continue reading

Molly Scott: How Can We Rethink the Factors of Production for a World of Common Ownership and Sustainability? Europe and Latin America Compared

Abstract: The classical economists bequeathed us an understanding of the nature of economies in terms of three factors of production: Land, Labour and Capital. It is the exploitation of these resources in differing combinations that has fed the world of global corporate capitalism. If we are to transcend the unsustainable and inequitable economy we live with today an intellectual reinterpretation of these three factors is a vital first step.   In this paper we provide such a liberating reinterpretation with examples from European and Latin American praxis. In terms of money we explore the rejection of debt-based money systems and the popular replacements in the forms of local currency and direct peer-to-peer lending. Please click here

Peter Söderbaum: From Technocracy to Democracy: Are Ecological Economists Part of a Social Movement for Sustainable Development?

In response to the present multi-facetted crisis there are protests and social movements. Also economists and other scientists respond in one way or other to what they perceive. Economists are not neutral observers of various phenomena but actors as part of society. “Values are always with us” (Myrdal 1978) as researchers and educators. Individuals (whether identifying themselves as economists or not) will be looked upon as political economic persons guided by their ideological orientations. Normal imperatives of democracy are relevant also for universities and departments of economics. Please click here