I squirm at some of Ostrom's ideas. And I am somewhat relieved that I am not alone.
This is from an article by Thomas Dietz, Elinor Ostrom and Paul C. Stern:
Effective commons governance is easier to achieve when (i) the resources and 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 than fish, and lakes are easier to monitor than rivers) (29); (ii) rates of change in resources, resource-user populations, technology, and economic and social conditions are moderate (30–32); (iii) communities maintain frequent face-to-face communication and dense social networks—sometimes called social capital— that increase the potential for trust, allow people to express and see emotional reactions to distrust, and lower the cost of monitoring behavior and inducing rule compliance (33–36); (iv) outsiders can be excluded at relatively low cost from using the resource (new entrants add to the harvesting pressure and typically lack understanding of the rules); and (v) users support effective monitoring and rule enforcement (37–39). Few settings in the world are characterized by all of these conditions. The challenge is to devise institutional arrangements that help to establish such conditions or, as we discuss below, meet the main challenges of governance in the absence of ideal conditions (6, 40, 41).This is an anonymous comment in Marginal Revolution:
Effective commons governance is easier to achieve when (i) ... (v)Reading this list, it almost sounds like the "cure" is worse than the disease, if back-to-the-future means old-boys networks, guanxi, cartels, provincialism and mistrust of outsiders, resistance to disruptive and innovative technological change, a world where who you know or who your parents were is more important than your character or ability, rule of law and equal opportunity is trumped by hoary traditions, and so forth.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but some elements of this program sound like a sinister throwback to old ways that we spent centuries trying to overcome.
The challenge is to devise institutional arrangements that help to establish such conditions...How about no?