Fantastic news this evening as it is announced that Professor Elinor Ostrom is the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for economics. As a champion of the commons, she has contributed hugely to the idea that commons work when properly regulated. The idea of the commons as opposed to the private realm is of fundamental importance in the debate about how we manage natural resources and organise economic activity. News report from the FT here together with video interview with Martin Wolf, the FT’s Chief Economics commentator trying to make sense of what most mainstream economists have ignored for far too long. A useful background briefing from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences here.
An excellent series of reports on the water crisis in Kenya reminds me how valuable the BBC is as a media institution in the UK. Environmental stories, especially involving Africa, are too frequently ignored in the media but James Morgan has earned every penny of his BBC salary in bringing us an in depth report of a truly frightening situation which could, if handled badly, turn into a serious conflict. Alex Bell has just published a book on the topic which I look forward to reading.
On the day of Gordon Brown’s speech at the Labour Party Conference it is also worth noting how little attention he paid to the environment or to the poor of the world. Electoral politics in the UK is about turning inward and contemplatingÂ really rather unimportant matters in the great scheme of things. How to govern and manage the planet in such circumstances?