Sunday, August 26, 2012

Some remarks of Elinor Ostrom

From Conversations on Comlexity: A Tribute to Elinor Ostrom by Ben Ramalingam

"The lack of long timeframes and a lack of supporting cultures means that aid agencies don’t help people learn how to think about and change the structure of the situations they are facing. In many situations, this is because of colonial roots of aid, which did not respect local institutions – they didn’t understand them so they were treated as non-existent.
The difference between this approach and that of Darwin is stark – the care and diligence that was given to studying animal species in the 19th century is so evident, and it from this that we have evolutionary theory. But these countries also had people, but there was no attempt to understand their knowledge systems, the rules they had developed to manage various kinds of socio-ecological systems… Colonial powers assumed we have the answers, and destroyed social capital. Aid agencies, unfortunately, do much the same thing."
via This post links to an interesting talk by Owen Border where Steven Jones' nozzle story is again mentioned.

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