Localism and Spontaneous Order in the Commons

With so much talk about war and peace prizes, there hasn’t been much discussion of the recently awarded Nobel Prize in economics.  Elinor Ostrom was co-awarded the prize for her recent studies of public, or common property.

What may seem counter-intuitive and shocking to many isn’t likely to be a surprise for many libertarians and anarchists.

Land does not need to be owned or actively managed by a central bureau; in fact, the keys to upkeep in public spaces has more to do with local engagement, clear and simple rules, and peer to peer dispute resolution.  None of this particularly requires rulers or authority of any kind, except that of the arbitration of disputes between individuals.  Importantly though, this does not require the creation of a state and its own subjective interests, it just requires that all involved parties feel an objective consideration of the case has taken place.

Spontaneous order arises in the seemingly chaotic universe around us.  Complex social institutions and civilizations are no exception, and that which is built from the roots to the sky cannot be planned from the top down.

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