The Struggle to Govern the Commons

Appearing in Tilly’s book “Why”:

Effective commons goverance is easier to achive when (i) the resources and the use of the resources by humans can be monitored, and the information can be verified and understood at relatively low cost (e.g. trees are easier to monitor fish, and lakes are easier to monitor than rivers); (ii) rates of change in resources, resource-user populations, technology, and economic and social conditions are moderate; (iii) communities maintain frequent face-to-face communication and dense social networks – sometimes called social capital – that increase the potential fo trust, allow people to express and see emotional reactions to distrust, and lower the cost of monitoring behavior and inducing rule compliance; (iv) outsiders can be excluded at relatively low cost from using the resources (new entrants add to the havested pressure and typically lack understanding of the rules); and (v) users support effective monitoring and rule enforcement.

That sentences is from “The Struggle to Govern the Commons” (pdf). Very interesting how poor the match is between that list and the situation with Open Source.

0 thoughts on “The Struggle to Govern the Commons

  1. James

    Well, there’s a perfectly good reason that that paragraph does not fit with Open Source. The text that you quoted is basically a response to a different text that deals with real world resource distribution starting with a commonly shared limited supply.

    There is no such thing as open source when you’re dealing with a limited supply of natural resources, and this article was dealing ONLY with natural resources. Note that the intro references Hardin’s “The Tragedy Of The Commons,” which was also discussing the problem of natural resources and population.

    So really, if you found a match between that paragraph and Open Source (philosophy) then I would find it quite interesting.

    As it is it sounds like the authors purpose came across quite nicely.

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