The Commons
"Elinor Ostrom has challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized. Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins . . . she observes that resource users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest . . ."—Press Release of Nobel Prize Committee awarding Elinor Ostrom the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics SYNOPSIS The concepts of proprietary management of property and non-state dispute resolution may seem inapplicable and inappropriate to the governance of human use of natural resources such as rivers, oceans, lakes, scenic wonders, the electromagnetic spectrum, etc. By the very nature of such resources, human use must be a shared use. "The commons" is a term that has come into use to describe such shared-use resources. In the 21st century it has become the conventional