• One of the winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics is some American gal, Elinor Ostrom, who is the first lady economist ever to win. Something about communities and resources, anyway it was uncontroversial! [CNN]
  • So our government is still working out the kinks in its system of telling when foreign people who visit here actually leave. [New York Times]
  • Bombings, bombings, bombings all weekend in Pakistan, all thanks to the Taliban. [WSJ]
  • There is a new song on the Internet from the dead, apparently self-referential pop star Michael Jackson called “This Is It.” [LA Times]
  • A gang of British Greenpeace people had a sleepover party on the roof of the Palace of Westminster to let everyone know how much they despise climate change, and also politics. [Guardian]
  • China is so excited to be able to sell Hummers soonish! There are some minor “regulatory emissions things” to figure out, but other than that, just pure excitement. [Reuters]
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  1. So this woman that won the Nobel proved that governments can manage things like fisheries, land, etc, basically went in the face of the “tragedy of the commons” which is one of those cards libertarians play to win arguments b/c noone ever knows what that even means. She says its BS in most cases, and I’m all for making libertarians get angry and not question their beliefs while looking for new quotes from Reason mag to post on a non-controversial topic (OMG THIS MEANS WE HAVE TO PRIVATIZE THE SEA NOW!).

  2. I prefer Nobel prizes given for real things like science over those given for human-invented abstractions like economics and peace.

  3. telling when foreign people who visit here actually leave.

    Obviously, we should confiscate their hearthstones and scrolls of recall when they arrive.

  4. Of course our all-seeing, all-knowing govt has no idea when, or if, visiting foreigners leave. Until they make their presence known. I know this from personal experience as a friend of mine is one & is now in jail. He was arrested with 34lbs. of cannabis in his car. Whoops. Being a brown foreign complicates his defense somewhat.

  5. Uh-oh, lefty British history could lose one its cornerstones if the tragedy of the commons is declared null & void. Though it seems to me that the enclosing of the commons in England is one of those that did actually screw the people.

  6. well, you see, if you have a field and you don’t give ron paul property rights to the ron paul field and the field belongs to the people and not the ron paul individual (freedom) then you just get fiat currency (ron paul freedom is the opposite).

  7. Ha! Someone wins a Nobel in a field I know well. No comments here, no snark. I will just watch the rest of you try to extrapolate what her work is about from the third-rate summaries on CNN and the NYTimes, and from that time we all read the Tragedy of the Commons, drunk, also. Happy Monday!

  8. All I know is the real solution is Freedom. This goes for you, too, Pakistan. Get those taxes down and then maybe people will stop capturing your soldiers.

  9. Michael Jackson wrote the posthumously released song as a tribute to huge, childhood-raping showbiz families everywhere who have seen their last nickel leeched out of a dead superstar relative.

    Or if he didn’t, he should have.

  10. [re=432001]DangerousLiberal[/re]: A friend is currently at the International Astronautical Congress in Korea to present a paper on game theoretic models of collective action in managing the space debris problem. Hooray for Ostrom and 21st C economics.

  11. At a discussion about the legal consequences for the doctor who may have given Michael Jackson the “fatal dose” of drugs he apparently paid for:

    Attorney friend: “My guess is that he might not go to jail at all. He’ll lose his license to practice medicine, sure. Get a fine and community service.”

    Me: “Some might argue that he’s already performed a community service by killing a known pedophile.”

  12. [re=431945]DangerousLiberal[/re]: So help me out here. Her research suggests that local control of local resources is probably better than big government? I know that’s really simplistic, but am I close??

  13. [re=432037]proudgrampa[/re]: (non-economist’s view of Ostrom) People have historically worked out ways to manage shared resources when they are 1. reasonably concerned about the future consequences (for themselves and their progeny), 2. understand what behavior is causing the problem, 3. can reach an agreement on what is responsible behavior, 4. monitor compliance and enforce consequences, which might be something like shunning. The classical economic position has been that there are only two ways to solve over-exploitation of common resources: centralized dictatorship or privatization — hence the enthusiasm by libertarians for the Tragedy of Commons story (even thought it was originally intended as a cautionary tale about overpopulation).

  14. [re=432055]ShiningMathPath[/re]: Got it! Thanks. I guess for me, in the real world, it all breaks down in the first assumption: I think most people don’t give a damn about future consequences.

  15. Last time I saw MJs good Doc was on TMZ and he was close to crying or was he just starting to sing “This is it” bcuz it is for him?

    The common good in these United States are the National Parks…

  16. [re=432062]proudgrampa[/re]: Her research has found cases where a fishing village, for example, would agree on everyone reducing their take with an eye to the future benefits. Agreed that it’s rare, but if the economic theory doesn’t even allow for the possibility of enlightened self interest, there won’t be any efforts to develop it — just a push for privatization to cure all ills.

  17. [re=432037]proudgrampa[/re]: I think you’re right. She’s arguing that if we follow the tragedy of the commons (TC) to its extreme, we buy into the most basic, and yet most erroneous, assumptions of economics: that individual actors are always trying to maximize their utility, whether or not it comes at someone else’s expense. If the TC problem gets too far, people have two choices: government “command and control” regulation (to curb their “natural” tendencies), or more local, negotiated ways of allocating the resource, such as mutually agreed upon times to graze, fish catch limits, etc. Ostrom notes that the latter–in which people cooperate as a community–works better than many people think. In other words, Ostrom, to me, means that politics *matter* and that political systems are as important as economic assumptions in the allocation of scarce resources.


    This may help explain why a cap and trade system might be superior to regulation–but, hey cap and trade is a commie plot from the deeper pits of hell.

    [re=432055]ShiningMathPath[/re]: I agree. But it’s not just libertarians that teach TC. Liberals do too, to justify government regulation (Oh, christ, I am in lecture mode again.) And proudgrampa, you’re absolutely right: people don’t properly account for future consequences when they get something of value right now. Now excuse me as I eat this Sonic Double Cheeseburger and plan my new exercise plan and diet for, ohh, sometime next month.

  18. Dame Peggy’s got a somewhat different understanding of the Tragedy of the Commons. For her, the Tragedy is that ‘The Commons’ exist and that she’s periodically forced to mingle with them.

  19. [re=432072]DangerousLiberal[/re]: you’re right — for some reason I’d suppressed the memories of TC being trotted out to argue for central control. A pox on both their houses!

    [re=432076]user-of-owls[/re]: thanks for deftly clearing the air and lowering the tone

  20. [re=432076]user-of-owls[/re]: Heh heh, political “science.” Whatta joke. Everyone knows there’s no lab coats or telescopes or shit that blows up in political science. Unless, of course, the political scientist is Condi Rice.

    [re=432077]proudgrampa[/re]: Inteleckshuls? Where? You git the pitchforks, I’ll git the torches, and we’ll storm the castle, I mean, that ugly ass 1960s buildin’ where the po-litikal scientists live.

  21. [re=432158]DangerousLiberal[/re]: I don’t know, some of the department meetings get pretty heated. And I will have you know that our building is widely recognized as one of the better examples of Neo-Stalinist Architecture to be found outside of Bulgaria.

  22. Hehe. Ostrom is uncontroversial to some. You should see the people in some departments who will avoid each other because of their theoretical disagreement on the management of the commons. It’s serious business people.

  23. [re=432264]proudgrampa[/re]: Old saying: Academic arguments are so vicious because the stakes are so low.

    Attributed to H. Kissinger, and he’d know about the stakes, what with his having to not travel to the Netherlands, for fear of extradition to, um, the Netherlands, also.

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