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Is good governance a choice between markets and states, or is there a third way? How can institutional diversity help us fight climate change or enhance social welfare? Tune in to this conversation with Dr Derek Wall of Goldsmiths College on what we stand to learn from the intellectual legacy of Elinor Ostrom, the first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.

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The Guest

Dr Derek Wall is an associate lecturer in Political Economy at Goldsmiths College.  His books include The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom (2014) and Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals (2017).  He is a former International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales and contested the Maidenhead constituency in the 2017  General Election.  He is currently writing a political biography of Hugo Blanco.  He is a patron of Peace in Kurdistan.

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0:45: What was Elinor Ostrom’s main contribution to the social sciences?

1:55: Was Ostrom successful in moving beyond markets and states?

4:44: What is the relevance of her work for green politics?

8:00: Is Ostrom’s framework limited to localities? If so, how well does it tackle environmental problems in the global commons?

15:30: What is the connection between Ostrom and John Dewey?

19:26: How did Vincent Ostrom influence Elinor’s work?

22:43: Was there a possibility of confirmation bias in Elinor’s work? Was she interested in demonstrating outcomes in her empirical work that we might view as favourable to building a self-governing citizenry in the way that Vincent envisioned it?

25:46: What happens when localities come up with bad rules, or even oppressive ones? Should the state monitor local policy experimentation?

29:43: What are the social justice implications of Ostrom’s research framework? Should we be comfortable in accepting institutionally diverse approaches to income redistribution?

31:23: If there are macro-level structural inequalities in society that are too big for any one person to overcome, wouldn’t the state be the only entity capable of solving problems at that scale?

36:01: Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about your political background. How do you translate such complex ideas from the academy into policy?

40:15: What are the 13 rules for policy makers to begin thinking in an Ostromian way?

42:28: Let’s take a more pragmatic challenge to the Ostroms. If we’re dealing with a diverse constellation of rule systems in a given country, it looks like utter chaos for investors. Doesn’t the diversity and localism implied in the framework undermine the Ostroms’ pragmatism?

45:02: What is Elinor Ostrom’s legacy? What research programs has she left open for the future?