6 Jun 2012

Elinor Ostrom, Caroline Lucas and radical Republicanism



I am a republican of course.  Having said that I have not been shouting 'Off with their heads' and demonstrating.

I just think people should be self-governing.

I have also been busy with my research into Elinor Ostrom's work,  Elinor was the first women to win a Nobel Prize in economics for her work on the commons.  She is currently putting together a huge global comparative research project into socio-ecological systems.

I am a huge fan of Elinor and the more I find out about her work the more unique and it important it seems.

Briefly she holds many of the values that a green leftist like me holds, while she does not reject the market or the state, her work is revolutionary in that it shows that collective democratic ownership can work, putting people in charge while promoting sustainability.

She is an advocate of the seven generation rule, respects indigenous people and is passionate about solving ecological problems.

But her conclusions have come from a career rooted in Hayek and as a former President of the Public Choice Society.   Confused you should be!

Typically she has done much research into Games Theory looking at how cooperation rather than competition can be promoted.

She has long become sceptical of 'rational economic man or women' at least outside the confines of the narrowly economic.......and is a great friend and fan of Amartya Sen, whose rational fools paper critiqued much of the basis of Public Choice.

What is uncontroversial is that she and her husband, who is also a fascinating thinker, Vincent Ostrom are republicans.

They don't demonstrate but their bed rock belief is that people can come together, however imperfectly, and make instutitions to govern themselves.  In this sense despite other differences like Negri and Hardt they celebrate Republican Political Theory.


A kind of polite and practical anarchism, which seeks to learn and promote government literally by 'Res Publica' the people.

I think this is something we need more of in the Green Party!   Caroline Lucas's exit as leader should be met by some real discussion, collectively, about how we create a stronger and more successful party. 

And more on the Ostroms coming soon from me!

Top down is not the green way and we greens can learn from the Ostroms in this respect,

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