Nepal and the Nobel Prize

This year one very un-fashion icon looking lady, Elinor Ostrom, shared in the Nobel Prize for Economics.

“The central theme of Ostrom’s work (she is the first woman to receive the Nobel prize in economics),is the governance of ’common resource pools’ such as pastures, fisheries or forests to which more than one person has access. Unlike pure public goods such as the atmosphere, where one persons use does not reduce the amount available to others, people deplete these resources when they use them. Standard economic models predict that in the absence of clearly defined property rights, such common resources will be overexploited, with individuals acting without regard for the effects of their actions on the overall pool. Overfishing or overgrazing, the ’tragedy of the commons’,will result. Over time, stocks of the common resource will dwindle.”  (quoted from a Nepalese website.)

She says that a well managed common resource pool is preferable to a government owned property. Wasn’t such a structure one of the principle ideas of early communism? Could this be an answer for certain issues currently facing the world? Communism (which we know never existed in a pure form) was never managed well, therefore it failed. If common will or professional management would rule using communist ideas, would they be successfull? Are we going to have the chance to try this? If wealthy clever business people suddenly would decide to invest the resources they control into a common pool and manage society at large, would the result be a better outcome for society? Would people listen to them, or is this simply just the cultural characteristic of the humble people of Central Asia? Maybe or maybe not, but Marx should have started in Nepal to figure this out…

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