‘Free Market’ Versus … Common Pool Resources

Go Lean Commentary

Socialism-Communism – a reference to any heavy-handed centrally controlled governance – is one way to govern the natural resources for the betterment of the people. But after 100 years of failed experimentations, the conclusion is valid that socialistic-communistic practices are defective and deficient. We do not want this – any further – in the Caribbean.

[Pure] Capitalism, on the other hand, provides a few models for managing natural resources to help the national economy; think leases, exploration rights and exclusive franchises. Ancient European powers had their track records of Papal Charters and Royal Charters. Among Republican governments, the American experience is most noted for anecdotes of the government extending exploration rights to private institutions and individuals: think mines and oil fields. (Or development rights like railroads). After hundreds of years of exploitation and abuse, Crony-Capitalistic practices have emerged as an “Enemy of the [Common] People.

What we want is simpler policies and practices intended for the Greater Good. (This ethos was defined by Jeremy Bentham, who lived 1748 – 1832, as: “the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong”).

This was the academic challenge: devising a better way to manage a country’s natural resources. The best answer thus far:

The Commons.

… and this turned out to be the culmination of one woman’s work; and she won the Nobel Prize for it. (To this date, she remains the only woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in Economics.[5]). See VIDEO here:

VIDEO – Elinor Ostrom on managing “Common Pool” Resources – https://youtu.be/D1xwV2UDPAg


Published on Jun 28, 2011 –
Elinor Ostrom, Nobel laureate in economic sciences, talks about managing “common pool” resources like forests or fisheries, where one person’s use means less is available for others.

Category: News & Politics

Well done, Dr. Elinor Ostrom. Her life’s work was proving to the world that there is a better way to manage Common Pool Resources without government or private control – think: no Socialism and no Crony-Capitalism. This summation was provided in the book Go Lean … Caribbean under the advocacy title “10 Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources“. The book (Page 183) first states this definition of Common Pool Resources:

The Bottom Line on Common Pool Resources

The 2009 Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom (1933 – 2012), a Political Science Professor at Indiana University, received the award for her landmark work on the management of common pool resources. Her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons, showed how groups work together to manage common resources such as water supplies, fish and lobster stocks, and pastures through collective property rights. She showed that common pool resources can be effectively managed collectively, even without government or private control, as long as those using the resource are physically close to it and have a relationship with each other. Because outsiders and government agencies don’t understand local conditions or norms, and lack relationships with the community, they may manage common resources poorly. By contrast, insiders who are given a say in resource management will self police to insure that all participants follow the community’s rules.

The Go Lean book asserts that there are best-practices that we can adopt in the Caribbean to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play.

There are a lot of Natural Resources that must be managed in the Caribbean region, consider: the 1,063,000 square miles of the Caribbean Sea, the waterways between the islands, the river borders with foreign countries, etc.. Most importantly, there is the need to manage the Fish & Seafood Stock in the region. This is one of the foremost reasons that the member-states of the region need to confederate a super-national agency in the first place. The Go Lean book introduces the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) for this purpose. The problem in this region is the same problem as in most other regions of the world; this is what the academic exercises were trying to address:

It was long unanimously held among economists that natural resources that were collectively used by their users would be over-exploited and destroyed in the long-term. Elinor Ostrom disproved this idea by conducting field studies on how people in small, local communities manage shared natural resources, such as pastures, fishing waters, and forests. She showed that when natural resources are jointly used by their users, in time, rules are established for how these are to be cared for and used in a way that is both economically and ecologically sustainable.[26]

We, the Caribbean, need to double-down in our economic engines and manage Common Pool Resources better. This theme is embedded throughout the 370 pages of the Go Lean book. See the multiple references here:

Separation of Powers – F. Interior Department
This Department in the Executive Branch manages the physical terrain of the Caribbean, in  conjunction with, and on behalf of the member-states. This governance is vital in facilitating the economic interest in the region, as many people are engaged in occupations and livelihoods involving the “land, and the seas”…. This Department manages the oversight of this “common” territory. In addition, this Agency will have to work with foreign entities in the management of common pool resources, like water rights, river ecosystems in Guyana, Suriname and Belize where they are bordered by other (bigger) countries.
Page 82
Separation of Powers – J. Agriculture and Fisheries Department
This Department in the Executive Branch coordinates the region efforts in agriculture, agri-business and fisheries. These endeavors will be executed in collaboration and on behalf of the CU member-states. The CU will take the lead in facilitating the food supply and distribution systems to ensure the region can feed itself, more from local production and less from trade….Many of the member-states get 90% (or more) of their food supplies from imports; even fish from Alaska. This department will coordinate the CU‘s implementation of agri-business investments to generate more regional options for food production: common grazing lands, cooperatives (co-ops), farm credit, fisheries oversight, canaries, aqua-culture endeavors, etc.There is the need for strenuous regional management regarding natural resources like fish stock. There are breeds of seafood germane to Caribbean culture that are becoming more and more endangered every year. This includes lobster, conch, flying fish and grouper. … This motivation is one of the prime directives for petitioning the UN for the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Caribbean Sea, the space between the islands.

In many ways, this office is to be managed like a Project Management Office, coordinating one region-wide project after another. This department will also oversee the common pool resources for the region. This will include fish stock and common grazing lands.

Page 88
Advocacy – 10 Lessons from the American West

# 5 – Common Pool Resources: Water / Public Works

There were many environmental deterrents to conquering the West. There is actually a continental divide in North America in which minimal rain falls west of that divide; the western states were not sustainable for large populations.

Over the years, the US Army Corps of Engineers created canals, dams, reservoirs, irrigation, water pipelines and other measures, in multi-state compacts. The CU must also engineer multi-state public works projects to improve economies.

Page 142
Advocacy – 10 Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources

# 1 – Lean in for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) treaty.
This treaty allows for the unification of the region into one market, thereby integrating to a single economy of 30 member-states… . The region needs joint management of the common pool of natural resources, and this one of the foremost reasons for confederating the CU. First it garners international support for the UN petition for an Exclusive Economic Zone in and near the Caribbean Seas. The CU’s representation of a Single Market allows for effective negotiations with foreign parties – the islands will no longer be viewed as inconsequential. The CU’s Separation-of-powers mandate is germane for managing the local needs of the region’s common resources; it allows for closer oversight of local regulators, but with CU principles.

Page 183
Advocacy – 10 Ways to Improve Fisheries

# 3 – Common Pool Resources (Lobster, Conch, Grouper, Flying Fish)

Though the waters between the islands may be uninhabited, their resources can still be depleted. The CU will govern the common pool resources to promote the sustainability of fish stock. Fishing for lobster, conch, grouper, “flying fish” and other species must be controlled, with limited harvesting seasons, otherwise there will be none for future generations.

Page 210
Advocacy – 10 Ways to Impact Rural Living

# 3 – Common Pool Resources Oversight and Management

The CU will exercise eminent domain to buy a lot of “crown” land, and the Exclusive Economic Zone, to promote as common pool resources (farming, fishing, and mining). This ownership allows for the implementation of proper oversight rules, with local coordination, and best practices.

Page 235

This vision for technocratic management for Common Pool Resources completes this series on Free Markets Versus… . There is wisdom to this strategy of managing natural resources on a local level, by people close to the target. Dr. Ostrom presented a lot of lessons in her writings and advocacies. This submission, 6-of-6 of the full series, completes this consideration; the full catalog is as follows:

  1. Free Market Versus: Communism – Can they both co-exist?
  2. Free Market Versus: China – Two systems at play in ‘Words and Actions’
  3. Free Market Versus: Socialism – Prevalent in the Caribbean
  4. Free Market Versus: Cooperatives
  5. Free Market Versus: Labor Unions – Junior Communists?
  6. Free Market Versus: Common Pool Resources – Simpler Cooperation

In this series, reference is made to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines of the Caribbean member-states. We need the intended community of communism and the Greater Good of Socialism, but with none of the trappings that come with those systems. For managing the natural resources of a country, there is an alternative way, a better way, and that is the approach and strategies of Common Pool Resources. This approach is both an art and a science.

This theme – fostering better management of natural resources – aligns with many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16000 Good Governance for Local Economic Empowerment
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15359 Industrial Reboot – Fisheries 101
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12724 Lessons from Colorado: Water Management Arts & Sciences
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=12230 Commerce of the Seas – Extraction Realities
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4700 Rare Earths: Managing for the new ‘Gold Rush’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3594 Lessons Learned from Queen Conch – Regional Reality

The stewards for a new Caribbean, the movement behind the Go Lean book, present many testimonies of the life work of Economists. This is just a sample list of some that we have featured in the past:

Dr. Elinor Ostrom is in this class of fame and infamy. Regrettably, she passed in 2012, after leaving a legacy for others to benefit from; we are forever grateful for her contributions to the field of Economics and Common Pool Resources. May we all pay more than the usual attention to her productions.

We urge all Caribbean stakeholders to lean-in to Dr. Ostrom work, and to the Go Lean roadmap for optimizing Caribbean economics, security and governance. We can … do better in making our homelands better places to live, work and play.  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 13):

iv. Whereas the natural formation of the landmass is in a tropical region, the flora and fauna allows for an inherent beauty that is enviable to peoples near and far. The structures must be strenuously guarded to protect and promote sustainable systems of commerce paramount to this reality.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

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