This chapter explores the Ostroms’ normative and analytical arguments regarding self-governance and how self-governing systems can resolve environmental problems without the need for top-down, centralized policies. On the normative side, the Ostroms argued that citizens should be free to develop their own rules and strategies for solving environmental problems. The Ostroms, in their conception of self-governance, push back against the practice of far-removed politicians and bureaucrats manipulating citizens like pieces on a chessboard. On the analytical side, self-governance can solve environmental problems because the people who are nearest to an environmental problem often have more knowledge and stronger incentives to solve it.
Read this chapter as a part of The Environmental Optimism of Elinor Ostrom.