Organization is Key

Elinor Ostrom was the only woman to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, which is a remarkable accomplishment. Her prize winning work examined how people can manage common resources, such as forests and fisheries, through collaboration and organization without government involvement.

In the article, Ostrom’s general framework is used to identify 10 subsystem variables that affect the likelihood of self-organization in efforts to achieve a sustainable SES. It helps predict how communities will behave in relation to natural resource management. This is important because the world is facing major reductions in biodiversity and a significant loss of natural resources.

Ostrom argues against the theory in the Tragedy of the Commons, which is that people will not self-organize to protect natural resources and there is a need for government regulation. This framework organizes SESs, which are composed of multiple subsystems and internal variables within the subsystems. It helps people acknowledge each system’s unique complexity, which helps users understand how the system protect or exploit the natural resources.

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