Revisiting Commons – Are Common Property Regimes Irrational?
This paper revisits the debate about communal management of natural resources and brings together various issues confronting it. Much of the criticism against common property regimes stems from an incorrect modeling of a common property situation, and misunderstandings about the terms and their wrong usage. Models of collective action (Hardin’s tragedy of the Commons, Olson’s Logic of Collective Action, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma) that are used as critique against common property regimes are not based on an accurate depiction of reality, and many of their assumptions are untrue. The purpose is to drive home the point that common property regimes are not inherently inferior types of regimes, and causes of success, and of failures, of these regimes lie elsewhere. Secondly, both public [and also private] management of natural resources has not had universal success. It is time to think out of the usual ‘either public or private’ dichotomy. Combining elements of both public and communal management in a pragmatic way is necessary. It is time to give co-management a serious thought!
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