Tag: commons

The Economics of Ecology and the Tragedy of the Commons

  Elinor Ostrom, the only woman to ever win the Nobel Prize for Economics, died last month and we are all poorer because of it. She was a trailblazer in the field of economics, yet her findings have been largely ignored by politicians, policy makers, and the financial media. Few economists have ever even heard of her.

 Why is that? Because her conclusions don’t help the cause of large corporations, governments, the wealthy and powerful.

 She was Elinor Ostrom, a professor of political science at Indiana University, who devoted much of her career to combing the world looking for examples where people had developed ways of regulating their use of common resources without resort to either private property rights or government intervention.

 In these days of environmental destruction and economic distress caused by rapacious corporations, we need people like Elinor Ostrom shining a light on alternative economic theories more than ever.

Sweet Intentions and a Faustian Bargain: Capitalism 3.0

This is a review of Peter Barnes’ book Capitalism 3.0; Barnes, an eco-entrepreneur from the flowing meadows of northern California (where I got my Master’s degree), still “believes in” capitalism, but offers a number of ideas worthy of consideration to non-capitalists as well, as well as a fairly sketchy version of capitalist history and a theory of the commons that, though sloppy on the details, is worthy of consideration.  Barnes’ book can be regarded as an especially ethical example of a current vogue in thinking: eco-capitalism, and it will here be both praised and critiqued as such.

(Crossposted at Big Orange)