In the context of the current global economic crisis that has been brought about due to a paradigm that celebrates unlimited growth and rampant misuse of the world’s resources, Ostrom’s work takes on a significance that goes beyond theory and if applied to the real world of ecosystems and how we can manage with the resources that have been bequeathed to us by nature, her work is indeed laudatory. Ostrom’s work is especially relevant when one considers the fact that our planet is in the throes of an ecological crisis due to climate change arising out of burning fossil fuels and that we as a species have used up most of the finite resources like oil, minerals etc. Hence, Ostrom’s pioneering work in the field of managing common pool resources can be said to be especially relevant for the times that we live in.
To quote from a website that analyzed her work in the area of self governance and usage of common pool resources, “In general there are two main governance structures that are widely accepted in the literature; market or government oriented solutions. The eminent free-rider problem thwart social optimality when individuals do not coordinate their actions and cooperation cannot be accomplished internally. Ostrom argues against both of the external mechanisms and, through her extensive fieldwork, shows that self-governance is possible where communities develop their ruling systems to manage common pool resources. Her findings clearly indicate that rules imposed or dictated have little legitimacy and would be violated. On the contrary, when there is consensus on the governing principles or internal enforcement apparatuses people tend to obey them. This presentation aims to delve into more details of her criticisms of standard economic governance theories. Then, her contributions to collective decision making and her