Cows on the Commons

Cows pasturing in Swiss meadows

Ah God, isn’t this a glorious part of Your World?  I love Switzerland — I loved walking up the mountains with the cows all around me placidly eating the grass. And that was before I knew HOW IMPORTANT it is to have our food — grass based.

But the real point of this photo is that Elinor Ostrom (first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics) points out that Commons CAN WORK. In fact, the Swiss sensibly combine private land ownership in the valleys with Commons up in the high pastures.  The reason is that rainfall up there is unpredictable — spotty — so that they can’t tell which would be the best land to own.  So sharing — letting the cows go to the good areas — is like a form of insurance.  Over time they all benefit most by the use of Commons.  A profound show of Common Sense!

Of course, running a Commons takes Communication, Rules made by those involved and  Consequences or as she calls it “graduated sanctions” — it sounds so SENSIBLE.  Elinor Ostrom said one of the eight keys is to Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system. To put that more clearly she said I’m not against government. I’m just against the idea that it’s got to be some bureaucracy that figures everything out for people.

God, I was SO THANKFUL to read this article (yesmagazing.org/issues …elinor-ostrom).  Thankful because it confirms what I have experienced — that YOU did do a LOVELY job of designing us!  We CAN work together for our common good —  IF WE TALK TO EACH OTHER  — really talk and really listen. And if we can overcome the foolish illusion that more stuff will make us happy or successful.  Thank YOU, God!

Story teller,

Posted in a new view of Commons, Common Sense

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