Paper instructions: All environmental issues are susceptible of being analyze from the viewpoint of common-pool resource theory. Please pick any given environmental issue that you may be familiar with. Does the common pool resource meet the criteria outlined by Hardin or Ostrom for long term sustainability? If not what possible regulatory (state), market or local community governance measures would you argue should be prioritized to address this situation?

Environmental Politics

Even as the world embraces the privatization of public goods and cooperate pool resources, many states have been left grappling with the menace of skewed development. Equally worse, some countries have gone to the extent of shifting management of cooperate pool resources from the commons to central governments. All these efforts have resulted in an outcry from the public due to the apparent selective policy of development, which obliquely subjects the common civilians to limited opportunities (Tim & Craig, 2014). Common pool resources, as different from public and private goods, are exploitable and free for utilization by the public. Similarly, such goods are marred by a myriad of devastating challenges such as being overused by the public. Therefore, cooperate pool resources may wither and even become extinct in the event of overexploitation without concrete regulations and cooperate legislations by the users.
Majority of irrigation water-providing lakes can be classified as common pool resources. The lakes are open for exploitation by the public so that the commons can meet their end goals of food security. However, as Hardin argues that ruin is as a result of people’s competition for self-gains, most lakes have suffered at the hands of their users, who compete for exploitation of the resources, both water and fish for end meets (Raja et al., 2017). Around the lakes, there settle farmers who conduct their farming through irrigation. Similarly, pastoralists drive their herd of cattle to the lake for water. Unfortunately, due to the nature of human being to yearn for more than what he possesses, the pastoralists increase their herds while farmers extend their farming. The result of over-using lake water, especially during drought seasons is a complete distortion of the ecosystem since the river dries up, and its occupants and users suffer too.
Despite common pool resources being faced by the problem of overuse and exploitative competition, privatization and shifting management to the government have offered a minimal solution (Tim & Craig, 2014). Most local problems are better solved by the people at the grassroots who have first-hand information about them and their possible remedies that can be enforced through local policing. Similarly, the problem of lake water exploitation can never be solved through privatization of the entire lake or through government administration (Raja et al., 2017). Although central governments in the majority of the states across the globe may play a central role in maintenance and sustainability of lakes, local governments are the epitome of solutions for such local problems that face some commons during certain periods. In echoing Ostrom’s argument of local regulations through corporate decision making, it is much easier for users of common pool resources to reach agreements amongst themselves rather than being conditioned to conform to government’s policies.
The presence of definite boundaries for the resources and clear sanctions for the deviants as advocated by Ostrom give users of common pool resources a sense of belonging. In business and almost all aspects of life, independence is key to success and motivation. As Ostrom argues, for sustainability of common resources to be witnessed, there must be clear boundaries for the resources so that conflict among diverse users can be evaded. Similarly, in the case of a water-providing lake, erection of definite boundaries that set demarcations and scope of different users has helped solve the menace of lakes drying up. Additionally, the boundaries, together with mutually agreed regulations should be laced with sanctions so that law-breakers can face punishment and also avoid a repetition of the mistakes (Tim & Craig, 2014).
In conclusion, the issue of common pool resources can only be solved by the very commons, who are the users. Although Hardin hypothesizes that humankind is naturally egoistic and coveting on more possessions, common resource issues can hardly be solved through privatization and government administration. Ostrom’s belief that the resources can be sustained through joint regulations and policies by the users has successfully been practical today.
Raja, T., Koji, K., & Yoshio, K. (2017). Sustainability of common pool resources. PLoS ONE. Vol. 12 Issue 2, p1-13. 13p.
Tim, F., & Craig, J. (2014). Elinor Ostrom’s Legacy: Governing the Commons and the Rational Choice Controversy. Development & Change. Vol. 45 Issue 5, p1093-1110. 18p.