I am incredibly saddened to see that Elinor Ostrom has passed away. She was an intense academic crush of mine, being a key figure in presenting and analyzing the evidence that the “tragedy of the commons” is not an inevitable or “default” case of what happens in human systems, but a very specific case. People can, have, and do organize in order to create and maintain sustainable systems, and have done successfully throughout history and into the present. There are plenty of examples where something like the “tragedy” happens, but it is not the simple result of “human nature” or anything so facile.

Her work has been immensely influential, not just to my work but that of many, many, many researchers (she apparently chaired or served on over 130 dissertation committees) Lin Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009, the first (and only) woman to have ever done so.

She will be missed…

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